5 ways to hold meetings more productively

Communication is a significant aspect of any organization’s working environment. Even though conference calls, emails, and online group chats have replaced the need for personal meetings, face-to-face communication is still crucial for achieving team success in many instances. Nonetheless, managers often fail to achieve the intended results from meetings involving more than two or three team members. According to an estimate, there are 11 million meetings held in the U.S. each day and as per a research, one-third of them end up being unproductive. As a result the U.S spends a sum as huge as $37 billion on salaries for the time spent in meetings that do not achieve productive results. This is an alarming amount of wastage of all kinds of resources. So how can you possibly conduct a meeting more efficiently and ensure that it is productive.

set a clear goal

It is utmost necessary to set clear goals for any meeting, so that you can use to benchmark its success. Having a clear agenda also helps you and the attendees to know what they are in for and how much do they need to prepare for it. Make specific points that need to be discussed and announce them at the beginning, if need be. Unpreparedness often leads to the failure of the purpose of a meeting. Having a predefined goal often tends to lead the members to achieving that goal or identifying the roadblocks in their way at the least. This is also crucial to hold the focus of the team members as a predetermined goal reduces the chances of any deviation.

time it tightly

People tend to fill the amount of time that they are given to complete a task. So, if you think that an agenda can be discussed in 30 minutes, keep the meeting for that much time or lesser. Meetings tend to go on forever if there is no time limit set for them, and this often increases the unproductivity. Knowing what needs to be discussed and utilizing each allotted second efficiently sets the tone of the effectiveness of the meeting. Keep a buffer for any unseen logistical issues, if you have to, but setting a specific time is the only way to be efficient.

be selective

Know essentially who is really supposed to be at the meeting. Give yourself and your team members the liberty to know if they actually have any actionable in taking the meeting forward. It is necessary to have only those present at the meeting who are essential to its objective in order to keep things on track. Having unnecessary team members only crowd the meeting space and cloud the purpose of the meeting, along with wasting the productive hours of the extra members.

make it more personalized

Hold each individual accountable for something that is discussed during the meeting. Let all members not only share their inputs but also takeaway an actionable from the meeting. It is good to have one member take the Minutes of the Meeting (MoM), but it is better to have all members interact during the meeting. This is essential not only to have everyone’s focus, but also to achieve goals through the meeting. Assigning direct responsibility to each attendee makes them more involved in the objective of the meeting and gives them a sense of ownership as well. 

keep gadgets away

Attention and focus of all the team members present at the meeting is critical to the productivity of the meeting. While ownership can make them more involved, it is also important to continue to engage them throughout the meeting. One way to avoid distraction is to not allow laptops or mobile unless necessary. Gadget-free meetings tend to have keep team members more attentive and the chance to have one-on-one conversation and higher focus also increases.

These are some of the must-dos of a productive meeting, but there are several other ways to get each member to participate more actively during work meetings. Steve Jobs, for instance, preferred more of conversational meetings. According to a study by Stanford, walking helps boost creativity. These measures can also be adopted considering your office infrastructure and the objective of the meeting. All in all, it is most essential to know what you would like to achieve through a meeting and set specific metrics to achieve it.