Most employees do not like having meetings because they are often considered unnecessary. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, the average worker spends 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. The amount of time that is wasted in these meetings could be better used to complete tasks that are actually productive.It doesn’t have to be this way! Here are ten tips to make your team meetings more productive.
Decide on a meeting purpose before you start
Before you convene your next meeting, take a moment to decide on the meeting’s purpose. This will help you decide who should attend, what materials they need, the length of the meeting, and the kind of meeting format you need to use. You can also use the meeting’s purpose to frame the discussion. This will help keep the meeting on track and ensure that participants stay focused and achieve the desired outcomes.
Only invite the people who need to be there
Before you invite people to a meeting, ask yourself if they really need to be there. Excessive attendance leads to lower productivity, increased distractions, and more time-wasting. A Gallup poll found that about 25 percent of employees spend between one and two hours per day in unproductive activities. The number is even higher on workdays with meetings. So before inviting people to your next meeting, ask yourself if they actually need to be there. If not, don’t invite them. If the meeting is mandatory, then you should strongly consider sending the meeting invitation via an online meeting tool. This way, you can be sure that everyone is following the rules and that you are getting the most out of the meeting.
Ensure everyone has the same information
Before you begin a team meeting, make sure every attendee is up-to-date on any important information that might be relevant to the meeting. For example, if you’re meeting to discuss strategy, everyone should have the same marketing data, sales data, and any other relevant data so that the meeting is productive and useful. If you are leading the meeting, you can do this by sending an email to the people who will attend the meeting. Ask them if they have the necessary data and if they need to get anything before the meeting. This will help ensure that everyone has the same information and will make the meeting go more smoothly.
Establish ground rules before you start meeting
Before the meeting starts, discuss the ground rules for the meeting. This is a good opportunity to review the meeting agenda and decide how you want to handle any potential deviations. Decide whether you want people to share their ideas verbally or by putting them on a flip chart. Decide whether you want people to write down their ideas or if you want them to record them on a computer or using a voice recorder. It’s also a chance to discuss how people should respond to questions. Should the meeting participants respond verbally or should they write their response on paper? Should they record their response or should they type it on their computer or device?
Stand up — it will make you more productive
When you’re in a team meeting, stand up. There are multiple studies and articles that suggest that stand-up meetings are more productive. If people are sitting down, they’re more relaxed and open to distraction. If people stand, they’re much more focused and engaged. Don’t be afraid to stand during the meeting. Instead, make your meeting attendees feel welcome to stand as well. There are many productivity benefits to standing while conducting a meeting. One of the most important benefits is that it will help keep you focused. If you stand while you’re in a meeting, your mind will be on the meeting and not on other things. Another great thing about standing while you’re in a meeting is that it shows your fellow meeting participants that you are engaged and that you care about being productive.
Don’t allow multitasking
For many, multitasking is a way of life — but it doesn’t belong in team meetings. Multitasking during meetings increases the likelihood that you’ll miss important ideas and information. It also indicates that you’re not giving the meeting your full attention. Be respectful of the other people in the meeting by putting away your phone and putting away your computer. While you shouldn’t be disruptive by taking notes or reading a book, you should pay attention and actively engage in the discussion. Don’t sit back and let the meeting go past you. Instead, bring your ideas and thoughts to the table.
Use the 2-minute rule for everything that comes up
In a team meeting, someone will inevitably bring up a new idea, tangential topic, or something that isn’t relevant to the meeting’s agenda. When this happens, you’ll want to control the meeting and keep it on track. One way to do this is by using the 2-minute rule. The 2-minute rule states that if an idea, topic, or issue comes up during a team meeting, any person at the meeting can end the discussion after 2 minutes. The rule doesn’t just apply to you, the person in charge of the meeting. Everyone at the meeting can use the 2-minute rule to stop a tangent. The 2-minute rule keeps the meeting on track, prevents people from talking about things that don’t matter, and helps the meeting finish on time. If someone brings up an unrelated topic during your team meeting, you have 2 minutes to stop the discussion and refocus the meeting on your objectives and goals.
Be strict about time and stick to your agenda
Meetings are often long and unproductive. Therefore, it’s important to think about time when you’re planning your meeting. You might have a long list of things you want to discuss, but you don’t have the time to go over everything. Before you start the meeting, tell people how long you plan on the meeting lasting. Keep a timer nearby to make sure you stay on track and finish on time. Don’t let participants go over their allotted time and make sure you don’t go over your allotted time either. The meeting is not meant to be a social gathering. The meeting is meant to solve problems and make decisions. If you stick to your meeting agenda and keep the meeting on time, you will finish the meeting quicker.
Ask for action items before you end the meeting
Before you end the meeting, ask attendees what they plan to do. Before you ask for action items, make sure the meeting agenda is complete. If there are topics that haven’t been discussed, make a note to discuss them later. If the meeting is almost over, it’s better to end the meeting without finishing a topic than to break the meeting’s flow and make people stay longer. However, before you end the meeting, ask everyone what they plan to do. This will help you hold people accountable for their actions and also makes sure that you’re getting value from everyone at the meeting. You can also follow up with attendees to make sure they completed their action items. This will keep your team on track and make sure that everyone is getting their work done.
Don’t forget to celebrate success!
Before you end your meeting, take a moment to celebrate success. If your meeting was to celebrate a project’s completion, then celebrate that accomplishment. If your meeting was to celebrate a project reaching a critical milestone, then celebrate that achievement. Celebrating success doesn’t just feel good — it helps your team members feel good too! When people feel good, they are more engaged, happy, and productive. Celebrating success helps build trust and improves communication. It also helps your team keep a positive attitude and be more productive and engaged when they return to work.
Team meetings can be useful — as long as you’re careful. Don’t invite everyone in your department to the meeting. Invite only the people who need to be there. Keep the meeting short and focused on one topic. And don’t let the meeting run too long. Meetings are an important part of many workplaces. While some people may dread them, for others, it’s part of their everyday work life. The important thing is to learn how to make them as efficient as possible.
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