How to Make Your Meetings Productive

Do you call a meeting every week to get an update on what’s going on at your organization? If you’re the boss, how will you ever know if your meetings are productive or not? (Hint: your staff will never tell you if they think it’s just a big waste of time. That’s what I’m here for!) Seriously, you don’t have to be a boss to follow these guidelines to have a successful and productive meeting.

CHOOSE YOUR ATTENDEES WISELY

Each person attending the meeting should have some important contribution to make to the meeting or an important takeaway. If they aren’t making any contributions or the have no action-items, believe me, they are probably thinking they could be working XYZ case right this minute…. Your time is valuable but so is your staff’s time. Therefore, please choose your attendees wisely.

HAVE AN AGENDA BEFORE YOU BEGIN

An agenda is your roadmap. (I love that word!) It tells you where you are; where you are supposed to be; and when you have steered off course! What’s better? Send the agenda to your attendees in advance so they know what to expect during the meeting and what information they need to bring with them to be prepared. The agenda will also help you save time.

LIMIT THE MEETING DURATION

Do your meetings drag on for hours? Are the meetings lacking in discussion but robust with monologue? (Announcements are okay.) Meetings can be physically grueling on the human body. Sitting for long periods of time without stretching, eating, drinking, or restroom breaks can be torturous! If you think you might be guilty of these long meetings, take a quick look at your last meeting. Could it have been accomplished in half the time? How about 3/4 of the time?

STAY THE COURSE/ KEEP THE FOCUS

Are attendees focused on the discussion and not their phones/laptops/tablets? Are these devices allowed in the meeting room? Most of us have these devices attached to us everywhere we go but it might be helpful to leave these outside the meeting room.

THE TAKE-AWAY/ACTION ITEMS AT THE END

If your meeting objectives have been met, then each attendee should leave the meeting with an important nugget of information that will contribute to their job performance or skill, or an action item with a due date.