Do you feel like a lot of your work week is comprised of meetings? Either with co-workers or meeting with clients? Meetings are certainly important, but they are not always productive. According to Atlassian, “31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings each month!” That’s alarming, however there are things we can do to make our meetings more effective. In our facilitations with companies, we have discovered some of the most important—and simple—ways to collaborate successfully.
1 – Have a Clear Objective
Send a meeting agenda to let everyone invited know what will be covered. There is nothing worse than getting into a meeting and finding out it’s on something completely different than what you expected. If you are looking for valuable input from your team, you need to give them time to think about their feedback/input before they step into the meeting. This may take a little extra time on your part before the meeting, however it will help you be much more productive in the actual meeting.
2 – Invite Only the People Who Are Needed
When you schedule a meeting, make sure you spend some time to determine who needs to be there. For example, if you’re working on a company rebrand, then maybe you only need the marketing and design team for the graphics. During a later meeting, you may need higher level Executives to provide their feedback and approval. According to Harvard Business Review, “Out of 182 Senior Managers in a range of industries, 65% of them said meetings kept them from completing their own work,” so make sure you think twice before inviting more people than needed.
With that being said, sometimes giving people the option of attending can be useful for their own development. It can also help them be more productive moving forward.
3 – Guide the Discussion
Typically, in a meeting you are looking for input from multiple people in your company—don’t let one person take over and run the show. If you notice this happening, you may turn to someone who is a little quieter and ask for their feedback. If there are a few bigger personalities that drive the discussion, it can lead to limited collaboration and less effective results. Get input from everyone in the discussion, but be sure to guide the timing and standards for that input.
4 – Have Technology Standards
The big thing about technology in a meeting is understanding & articulating its purpose. If for some reason you are waiting for an important call or you need to write your notes on a computer, the most important thing is to communicate that to the team. Just something simple like, “I am waiting on a client for an answer, so I am going to keep my phone on the table for the first half of this meeting,” can go a long way. With that said, answering a phone call, text, or email during a meeting generally conveys a message to the participants that they are less important than the person on the phone. In majority of cases, either leave your phone in your office or put it on silent and away. Keeping your phone on the conference room table can demonstrate that the phone is more important than what the presenter is speaking about—it just happens to be a barrier for people. As far as laptops go, if you do bring them in, only use them when needed and otherwise keep it closed. If you have to take notes, preferably write it in a notebook and transfer to a digital document afterwards—which also helps with retention.
5 – Start on Time, End on Time
One of the best ways to show respect to your team is to respect their time. No one wants to feel like they’re stuck in a meeting that goes over – especially if they have a hard stop at the top of the hour, or a client meeting they need to get to. Be aware of the time during your meetings, and when you reach the last 10 minutes of the meeting make sure you answer any lingering questions and delegate any follow-up actions to continue moving the process forward. Stay on top of the time and if for some reason you do need to go overtime, give people the option or ask permission to spend a few more minutes.
6 – Follow Up
The most productive meeting can become unproductive when there are no post-meeting actions. Assign owners to actions and keep great notes during the meeting. Then, email everyone who attended letting them know the highlights from the meeting within 24 hours. Make sure to also document any tasks or deadlines – we recommend using a free to-do list management software such as asana or Todoist, that way it drastically reduces any tasks from slipping through the cracks.
Interested in learning more about how velocityHUB can help you facilitate productive meetings and grow your business? We’d love to connect with you. You can contact us directly from our site at velocityHUB.com or connect directly with our Partner, Amanda E. Rogers at email@example.com.
velocityHUB’s vision is to build one million leaders by delivering results-oriented training programs, high-value consulting and targeted executive coaching. velocityHUB has developed 110,000 leaders in 15 diverse industries. The velocityHUB clients range in size from the Fortune 100 to one-person companies and represent publicly-traded market leaders, private & family-owned businesses, venture-backed startups, associations & nonprofits, and academic institutions.
Learn more about velocityHUB at www.velocityhub.com
Contact: Evan C. Manley | 603.402.1705 | firstname.lastname@example.org