Avoid Wasted Time in Meetings
How many times have you sat in a meeting for hours and wondered if there would ever be a better way to solicit innovative ideas from a group and have the group interact on the best of those ideas without ever stepping foot into another conference room? When you waste time in meetings
, you are losing opportunities to add something of value, to actually set yourself up for success. In truth, you’re probably losing money in the long run.
Meetings have become so structured that people lose interest quickly simply because they’re stuck in the routine of it. Instead of hoping that your team will just sit down and focus, try dramatically changing up your approach to meetings. Or better yet, not have a meeting at all and use a new “actionable social” tool
to get the engagement and innovation desired.
If you still need a meeting to get something done then here are 7 great ideas to avoid wasting time:
- Change up the times– You should not be starting or ending on the hour or half hour. This is what everyone expects. If you switch it up, you won’t be wasting time. Try setting the meetings for the quarter hour or even just do increments of five minutes, like 25 or 55-minute meetings. If say your meeting will last an hour, you often end up trying to fill the last 15 minutes or so with extra fluff just to keep the time. Plus, having a visible clock on the wall helps people to get done faster.
- Say no to redundancies– Be especially selective when choosing speaking points. Do you really need to say things twice? Probably not. Also, if people in the meeting don’t know each other, use name tents instead of taking five minutes to introduce everyone. You should also do away with ‘any other business’ at the end of the meeting. If someone has something irrelevant to say to the team, they can send it in an email.
- Stick to your topics– One topic for one meeting. Try not to stuff 10 pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag. It is much more productive when you focus on one topic. It is smarter to have more short and productive meetings than to have one long and drawn out meeting. You can have longer meetings only for the very big and important topics. The idea is to be prompt—get to the point and then move on. Following that idea, get rid of meeting breaks entirely. If you’re doing your job right, the meeting will be succinct enough that there is no need for a break.
- Abolish unnecessary meetings– This can include many different types of meetings. Anything that does not produce action should get cut. If there is no productivity—can it. Communication meetings are so passé—just send an email or use a social media platform. The same thing goes for an information meeting. Try a newsletter for any informational updates.
- Set the parameters– Tell your team what to expect from the meeting—what do you want to get out of it—before it starts. Set the scene and be clear about your purposes and outcomes. Give them some ground rules to keep the flow of the meeting going. It is also a good idea to keep away from revisiting previous meetings. Stick to the parameters!
- Engage your team– Definitely encourage your team to voice their opinions and questions but set aside a certain time for that. Allot 20 seconds (or whatever time you think your topic allows) per person for their contributions. Have a vote (or use the social media platform for all follow-up to ensure enagement)! This brings your team into the decision making process, while still keeping a concise meeting. This is great, but don’t pressure every single person to contribute. The meeting will be quicker if you don’t make everyone talk, only those that have an idea or question.
- Measure Your Meeting Investment– Meetings are an investment. Going to meetings will take up valuable time that could be spent working. Measure how much time you’re spending in meetings on an efficiency score.
Meetings can be very helpful, but only when you’re keeping on task and staying productive. Your meetings will be the most inventive, popular, prompt, and dynamic.