While no one likes to spend time in meetings, there are many legitimate reasons why they are needed. For instance, they can be used to discuss the development of a new product, the status of an upcoming marketing campaign, or who is the best person to fill an open position. Let’s look at a few ways to be the most productive in a meeting in the least amount of time.
Have a Set Agenda
Meetings tend to be more efficient when there is a clear purpose for bringing everyone together. Generally speaking, whoever calls the meeting should have his or her talking points ready, and he or she should let others know what those talking points are. Providing an agenda before the meeting may provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions or to raise concerns without causing unnecessary delays.
Prepare Your Employees
Employees should receive assignments before attending the meeting. For example, they could be directed to create a slideshow, pick up the regional manager at his or her hotel, or perform other preparative tasks the night before the event. When everyone knows what is expected of them, the meeting itself should be able to proceed without any significant delays.
Set a Time Limit
People tend to focus better and to get more done when they are facing a deadline. Therefore, it may be a good idea to limit the meeting to an hour or limit a question-and-answer session to ten minutes. This helps to ensure that all of the important topics are discussed in a timely and thorough manner without driving too far off-topic.
Get Out of the Office
Holding a meeting at a bar, restaurant, or golf course may help everyone to relax and to communicate in a more direct fashion. When employees feel free to speak their minds, they are more likely to better articulate their positions. This means that you spend more time debating ideas and creating a stronger organization, and less time trying to fill awkward stretches of silence. Having meetings outside of the office may also be an ideal way for managers to ingratiate themselves to their workers and to develop stronger interpersonal relationships with them.
You will likely be required to schedule or to attend dozens of meetings during your working years. While there is generally no way to avoid them, preparing for an event ahead of time can ensure that less time is wasted. This can result in shorter, more productive meetings that employees are more likely to take seriously.