How to Make Your Meetings Go More Quicklyon 20 June 2018Posted by Sam Abrahams
Meetings are often an important part of business and yet they can quickly become a huge waste of time. Reducing meeting times can be a challenge for a number of reasons, so check out these ways to help make your meetings speedy and effective.
Prepare the Groundwork
Make sure you are fully prepared for your meeting by setting an agenda ahead of time. You might even want to give people the opportunity to send you items they would like to cover during the next meeting. If so, make sure you do this well ahead of time so you have time to vet their suggestions. Some topics might be better handled in a different setting or during a separate meeting. At least by asking and discussing their suggestions with them ahead of time, you are less likely to have an endless series of new topics and side discussions appear in the middle of proceedings.
Make sure you distribute the meeting agenda to participants ahead of time. Include who is responsible for leading each area of discussion. This should help to ensure people are properly prepared. You don’t want the meeting to grind to a halt because people have to look up information or stop to print enough documents for everyone.
Skip Project Updates
There is no point in going around the room with updates that don’t require discussion. Make sure everyone has access to collaboration software so they can keep up with the status of each project. That can allow you to focus on the items that actually require time in the meeting. Having updated data, stats and more available before the meeting will give people the chance to be informed and make the best possible contribution.
Provide the Facts
If there are important and complicated timelines or other issues to be discussed, have copies for each attendee. This will save them from trying to jot down facts and figures during the meeting. Needing to take a significant number of notes will make the meeting move along more slowly.
Focus on Goals
Meetings need to have a clear purpose or purposes. It is important to keep your mental focus on the desire to reach the specified goals of the meeting. Too often meetings drift off topic or simply become a reason to meet again later! There should always been something you plan to accomplish, so make sure your expectations are clear.
There can be a temptation to try to include too many different topics. There should be a good reason why each item is on the agenda – adding too many of these will make the meeting overlong, dilute the effectiveness of any potential solutions out there, and, quite simply, wear people out.
Avoid the temptation to breathe a sigh of relief once your meeting is over and dash out of the room. Be sure you wrap up your meeting and formally bring it to a close. Anyone with work generated as a result of the meeting should understand what they are expected to do and when, so a quick, smart review on any decisions as you end the meeting is a good idea – everyone should leave knowing exactly what is expected of them: what specific actions are to be taken and by whom?
If there will be follow-up information to be provided after the meeting, there needs to be a plan on when those details will be released. Be upbeat and thank everyone for their time and contributions.
You’ll lose all that positive feeling if attendees later begin to feel like the meeting was a waste of their time. Follow up after the meeting with a communication detailing decisions that were made, deliverables and deadlines.
Finally, make a time limit for ALL meeting across the board. If you can’t inform, discuss and decide it in 20 minutes, perhaps you’re not ready to have that meeting at all!
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