Pointless, endless meetings are the bane of the workweek. But meetings don’t have to be a boring waste of time. Use the following tips to make your meetings more productive.
Start with proper preparation
Before calling a meeting, have a clear purpose, a well-defined agenda, and specified outcomes that you want to achieve. Limit the scope of the meeting to two or three topics or objectives.
Make sure everyone has all the information they need prior to the meeting and set an expectation that attendees will have read, reviewed, or prepared necessary materials in advance.
Schedule the meeting for no longer than it needs to be, and don’t feel compelled to use all the time allotted.
Bring the right people together
Make sure those who need to be in attendance are present. If certain details concern only a subset of the group, hold those discussions in another meeting.
Begin on time and be disciplined about maintaining focus
Take it upon yourself to set appropriate amounts of time for each topic and to keep the discussion on track. If necessary, use phrases such as “We need to move on,” or “We’ll address that at a later time,” to steer people back on topic.
Make sure everyone leaves the meeting with a clear sense of what was accomplished or decided and what needs follow-up.
Finally, consider holding stand-up meetings
These meetings tend to be shorter because people are less likely to pontificate when they can’t sit down.