First, let's agree that meetings are a reliable and efficient way to get teams aligned behind a common objective or goal. Let's also agree that, if not carefully managed, meetings can quickly unravel into a massive waste of time.
Our view is that if meetings have such potential, we just need to be disciplined about how to plan and execute meetings that are a win-win for all present.
Well Managed Meetings Are a Good Way to Align Teams Behind Common Goals
Meetings Are Good
A lot has been written about how to get the most out of meetings, including things like eliminating them all together, making them uncomfortable by forcing everybody to stand up, having single topic meetings, limiting the number of attendees, or tightly managing agenda and duration.
All of these ideas attempt to go to the core of the issue: How to maintain focus.
Here are the 5 most important and effective ways to immediately boost your meeting productivity:
1. Maintain Focus
Before the meeting, make sure there is a well-thought-out agenda with clear outcomes. During the meeting, make sure the conversations stay on topic and stay focused. Quickly set aside topics that are not relevant or that should be discussed at a later date.
2. Get the Right Audience
Make sure the right people, and only the right people, are in the meeting.
When getting ready to invite people to a meeting, make sure you understand what is in it for each of the participants. There is nothing worse than having one or more attendees that are not emotionally or intellectually connected to the content and purpose of the meeting. Or worse, not having the right people present to fully address the topic in question.
The reverse applies too. If you are invited to a meeting and you do not understand what is in it for you, politely decline.
3. Keep it Simple
Keep the number of key topics low. This will help determine who should be at the meeting and how to best maintain focus during the meeting.
Keep Things Simple At Meetings to Keep Them Focused
4. Visualize the Deliverable
Decision-making dynamics are different in group settings that in a one-on-one discussions. Use meetings to explore different ideas, options, points of view, and to collect information to make the best decision possible. Meetings are not generally good places to make decisions. Follow up with the appropriate people when needed and make the decision when you are ready.
5. Make Your Rounds
Sometimes it is just better to not have a meeting. Instead, walk around and talk to people one-on-one or in small settings around the office. Get the ideas, viewpoints, answers, and information your need by simply asking.
It is true that people would get more done if they did not have to attend meetings all day. However, getting more done does not necessarily mean the right things are getting done. Well-managed meetings help ensure that all this energy is applied to the right things in a coordinated manner. The challenge is to find the balance.
CommandHound drives a business performance by enabling a culture of accountability in the workplace. Many of our clients see a 50-80% increase in on-time completion of action items resulting from meetings. CommandHound records, escalates, and reports on action items to makes sure things do not fall through the cracks.
Would you like to learn how CommandHound can help you improve meeting productivity from the get go?