Time Management Tips for Effective Meetings
Meetings are meant to boost productivity and efficiency. When everyone is on the same page and aware of what should be done, even the most challenging tasks can be completed. In reality, we find ourselves stuck at unproductive meetings, week after week. The average American worker spends 4.5 hours in general status meetings each week, and workers spend even longer (4.6 hours) just preparing for those meetings. You want to spend the majority of your time working, not talking about the work you or your team is going to do. Here are some time management tips for effective meetings: Assign a meeting leader. Having a designated person be in charge of setting an agenda and keeping the meeting on track is important. Sure, Brenda in accounting's story about her recent rock climbing excursion is interesting, but it isn't doing much more than distracting others about the actual purpose of the meeting. A meeting leader can move the discussion along and not allow it to get bogged down with pointless chatter. Keeping tabs on the time will help in keeping the meeting on track. Set an agenda. Every meeting needs to have an agenda decided beforehand. This ensures everybody knows what the discussion topics or metrics will be. Making up your agenda on the fly is a great way to waste the time of your employees, so don't do it. Having a meeting leader also helps ensure that you'll have a purpose and intent behind every meeting. Have a dedicated note-taker. We've all had it happen: We don't feel like taking notes on something because we assume we'll remember it later. Then, later comes and that information has fluttered off into the ether, never to be heard from again. All of your meetings should have someone who takes notes and then emails them out to the attendees afterward. The business world moves quickly and there is only so much room in our brains to store information. Give everyone a break by having your meetings documented. Set time limits. If you schedule a one-hour meeting, have a one-hour meeting. If your meetings regularly go way past the scheduled time, chances are you're not running them efficiently. Block out a set number of minutes to each discussion point and keep to that limit. Have a video conferencing system for your remote employees. Not only will this keep your remote employees feeling more engaged, but it is also much less expensive than having all employees in the office for the meeting. Have your audiovisual systems prepared. What's the point of having remote members conference in for a meeting if you're going to waste 15 minutes at the start just getting the hardware and software configured? Have a solution with an easy setup, and have it ready before the meeting starts. Hide digital distractions. Begin your meeting by leading by example. If possible, remove your digital devices from the table, silence them or choose to leave them behind entirely. Acknowledge your desire to value time and ask participants to silence devices and remove them from sight. Even though you could be worlds apart, your team’s productivity doesn’t have to be. Follow these guidelines on how to run effective meetings and we're sure your meetings will improve considerably. You will not waste time, and your employees will be more productive.