Keep Your Meetings Productive and Focused

Productive meetings are crucial for successful businesses. They encourage creativity, collaboration, and communication. When meetings aren’t productive, they can bring the business down, causing distractions and derailing employees. It’s important to not only remember these tips for holding productive meetings, but to review them often.

Brevity speaks volumes

Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent at Anything, recommends we “schedule meetings for 45 minutes, rather than an hour or longer, so participants can stay focused, take time afterward to reflect on what’s been discussed, and recover before the next obligation.” Open-ended meetings cause problems in employee’s schedules—since they weren’t sure when they would be getting back to their desks, they have not made a plan or scheduled any appointments. Your meetings can certainly be shorter than 45 minutes, especially when the meeting agenda has fewer than five items of business on it.

Clearly define the purpose

If you hold a meeting just to hold a meeting, it can’t produce the results you’d see from a planned meeting. Be sure that each meeting has a clear purpose, and don’t forget that it’s important for everyone to be aware of that purpose. This will keep attendees on track and keep the discussion focused on the agenda.

One innate purpose for every meeting is to inform the company of business that is going on within it. Ron Ashekenas reminds us that “People need to know what’s going on in other parts of the organization. They need informal sources to supplement the formal communication mechanisms—and to guide them through political and personal minefields. These information networks are created, reinforced and expanded through meetings.” Ron also stresses the importance of social interaction at the workplace, suggesting that the idle chit-chat during meetings is actually an “important social outlet” for employees.

Leave with a plan

When your meeting is over, it is important that each attendee has action items on their agenda. Just discussing an issue for an hour will not resolve issues or implement changes. Before you close an open discussion, make sure a conclusion has been reached. Either assign people the tasks that will resolve the issue or assign employees the task of brainstorming the problem and meeting at a later date to discuss the possible solutions. A meeting with only discussion and no action will be forgotten by the attendees by meal time.

Hand-pick the attendees

Be sure to include all those who would benefit from each meeting. Consciously decide who needs to be there, who doesn’t, and who shouldn’t be there. Keep everyone in the loop, however. Even if some employees don’t need to be involved in the decision-making, they should still be aware of what decisions were made.

Hold productive meetings to keep employees informed and to maintain creativity in the office. What other tips do you have for ensuring productivity in your meetings?

Image by David Castillo Dominici via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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