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Do you find yourself dreading the idea of yet another meeting? Do you feel like you are wasting your time going round in pointless discussions with your team when you could spend it being productive?
Are you starting to think that you should cancel recurring meetings altogether?
Before you put a ban on meetings, go through my best advice to make them productive. It took me a long to finally implement all of these areas, but it’s actually very simple.
There are just a few fundamental concepts that you have to keep in mind and you’ll be on your way to having more effective meetings whether they are face to face or online.
Keep reading to find my 5-step down and dirty guide to meetings.
5 Steps to Make Your Meetings More Productive
Meetings can be productive, trust me. If you don’t think so, or hate them already…well, I hate to say it, but you’ve probably been doing it wrong!
The good news is that you have the chance to turn it around and turn meetings into what they SHOULD be…
The best chance to harness the brainpower of your people — if done correctly, you will be able to come to solutions and overcome sticky obstacles much quicker.
- The main reason why some meetings don’t make sense is that you don’t have a clear purpose and framework as you walk into the room. Keep it simple, it could be as little as 3 or 4 bullet points. But remind yourself of those as you prepare for the meeting and never lose sight of them. If you don’t have any idea where to start, go with this:
- Share your views with the team. If you are going to change the form and framework of your meetings you should let them know why – everyone likes to be aware of what’s going on. Once they understand that you are trying to save everyone’s time, they will appreciate it and cooperate actively – especially when they see the results.
- Kill tangents. This is crucial, and you really need to watch yourself first and foremost. It is not unusual to get lost in tiny details that may matter to some but not to the whole group.
Keep yourself and others in check by explaining that these are more general, group meetings. Attendees can make notes for themselves and delve into details with the relevant people at a later time.
- Review your numbers. This will give you practical information to use during the meeting and a clear reason for you to call it. It will also allow you to share potential positive outcomes and areas that need to be improved with data to back it all up. You can prepare a spreadsheet or a Google Doc, or whatever works best for you.
- Wrap it up. Some meetings are dense. Make sure to wrap them all up with a quick summary of action items. Who is doing what? By when? It will help people remember what the bottom line of the meeting is and prevent that post-meeting “what was I supposed to do…” from crashing everyone’s great ideas.
A Final Note: Respect the Attendees, Yourself Included
Nobody loves meetings and conferences more than working on their favorite projects or just not working. Chances are, your team doesn’t either.
Respect their time by coming prepared and on time.
Set yourself one or several reminders, write a bullet list on your calendar or print out a whole spreadsheet – do what it takes to show up on time and ready to have a productive meeting. If you can’t do this for yourself, how do you expect others to?
Of course, different things work for different people and it may take you some time to figure out your ideal meeting framework. Don’t be afraid to proceed by trial and error and you will see an improvement in quality faster than you think.