Time is money, and taking many employees away from their work can be expensive and can interrupt work flow, increasing these costs. One person may be especially productive as soon as they go straight to work, others at the most effective after half an hour or so. Mental energy is spent remembering what was said and actions may be taken without thinking things through.
So how do you make sure that you make any meeting more productive and cost effective?
Be Cautious of Update Meetings
If you’re looking to have regular and recurring meetings for posting updates then you’re probably wasting people’s time. Unless there are actions to be taken from the meeting, leave the updates to emails or voicemail. Summarising the past in normal meetings will take up valuable time and not be a productive use of time.
Have a meeting on a Monday morning? Unless you have a good reason (it’s Monday is not one of them!) for having the meeting then avoid them. People will have lots of emails to get through from the weekend and automatic meetings end up as update meetings.
State the Purpose of Every Meeting
Before the start of any meeting make sure everyone knows why they are there and what the meeting is set out to accomplish. Making sure that everyone can prep and laying out the tone and objectives of each meeting is something the team leader should take care of.
Sending a pre-meeting email that summarises the information that’s needed for decisions as well as a tentative agenda for the decisions that need to be made will help make meetings more concise .
Make sure Everyone Knows their Action Items
At the end of each meeting make sure that everyone is aware of what is needed from them as a result of the meeting. Go around each person and ask what actions are required from them and the steps required. It doesn’t take long to do, and ensures that nobody misses an inevitable action item. Doing this in front of colleagues will also increase the chances of these steps being followed through.
Sit Down? Have your Meetings Standing up
If you are able to, make your meetings “standing up” meetings whereby all the people gather round and stand up for the duration of the meeting. It will make them more concise as people are less likely to reiterate points if they are stood up for a long time. If meetings are last minute then they are more likely to be finished as quickly as they can.