If your organization is a one-person team, you may not need to read further. But for the rest of us, meetings are a critical aspect of our daily work lives. They help us stay connected with others, understand big-picture dynamics, and brainstorm new, innovative ideas. However, poor meeting habits can not only cost time, but also hinder overall productivity. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 71% of respondents said meetings are unproductive and inefficient, and 65% said meetings can actually keep them from completing their work. Another study by Doodle found that employees can spend two hours a week in pointless meetings, adding up to 13 days a year, which accounts for $399 billion lost in time and money. Whether you’re meeting in person or remotely, check out these three tips to make sure your organization doesn’t fall into the time and money trap of unnecessary meetings.
Create a Clear and Concise Agenda; and Stick with It
One issue people have when conducting meetings is that they have a vague idea what they want to discuss and where they want the meeting to go. While the looser, more casual approach may have its perks, it also can waste people’s time and not achieve a desired outcome. To combat this, create a clear and concise agenda that outlines specifically what your team will discuss during the meeting.
For longer, more in-depth meetings, create the agenda a day to two before and send it to the meeting participants so they have a chance to prepare for the meeting. As always, it’s important to stick to the time allotted for the meeting. Attention span can only go so far, and after a while, you may experience the law of diminishing returns with your attendees. Start on time and end on time. You can always set up a follow-up meeting if necessary.
Always Send Meeting Notes After
To ensure your meeting is successful, have a designated person take notes throughout the meeting. When the meeting is through, send the minutes to the group the same day so everything discussed stays fresh in everyone’s minds. Be sure to assign the note taker before the meeting to not waste time deciding during the meeting. It is also important to set clear expectations for the scribe, including what needs to be recorded, as well as what to do with the notes.
In most cases, there are action items discussed toward the end of the meeting. Be sure to prominently place these in the meeting notes and ask for your attendees to follow up with next steps. Every meeting needs to have a purpose, and if your team comes out of the meeting having a clearer vision or a deeper understanding, then you’ve succeeded!
Celebrate Wins Often
While meetings need to be productive, it is still important to take time to celebrate wins and recognize others for a job well done. A recent study found that 93% of employees hope to be recognized at least on a quarterly basis; yet, only 51% of workers feel like they received adequate recognition for their hard work. Carving out time during team meetings to celebrate completed goals, department wins, and individual successes can go a long way in building team morale and encouraging others to raise productivity. Consider starting each team meeting with kudos to help lay a positive foundation for the rest of the group time. If nothing has been prepared, ask the group what they’re most proud of completing that week. Sharing each other’s wins may be the boost your team needs to get through more difficult seasons.
How do you conduct successful meetings? What advice would you give others to be more efficient and effective? Let us know in the comments section below!