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How to Make Meetings Actually Effective

We’ve all been there: you’re present at a meeting, but your mind is wandering in a galaxy far far away. There are a plethora of reasons why you’d lose interest in a meeting, and often it’s the corporate culture that smothers collaboration and turns meetings into sheer boredom. Ineffective meetings generate little value; they waste time, money and energy of the employees. If you’re as tired of counterproductive gatherings as we are, let’s take a look at the ways to improve them together. We’ve compiled a list of tips that’ll keep your meetings effective, result-oriented and positive.

The Price of a Company Meeting

How would you feel if you saw the cost of the wasted time next to yet another meeting invitation? There’s a fun tool called Meeting Cost which can help you can estimate the actual costs of your company meetings. Knowing how much money your company wastes on meetings is an excellent motivation to improve efficiency.

Every Game Needs a Moderator

And so does a company meeting. Before starting any corporate meeting, choose a person who will lead and moderate it. This will make following the agenda, keeping to the time limits and expressing different points of view so much easier.

Agenda Fights Chaos

If a meeting has no plan, skip it right away. Putting together an agenda before a corporate gathering might seem obvious to you. Yet, many briefings start without any clear purpose. Quite often people join a table without knowing why they’re even invited and what it’s going to be about. An agenda is a pledge of a productive meeting. Set a subject line for your meeting and let the invitees add their points to the discussion. The expected benefits and the purpose of each point should also be clearly defined.

Invite People Who Bring Results

When planning a meeting, don’t turn it into a party by inviting everyone. To hold a useful discussion, you only need the players who will bring distinct value. Find people you trust and whose opinion you appreciate, then ask them to join the conversation. Debates on finding the best solution are usually time-consuming. By eliminating the views that won’t influence anything, you’ll make the meeting more productive.

No Time for One Man Show

Meetings have nothing to do with a solo game. Every participant should get a chance to express their opinion and be heard. When someone gets interrupted, address the speaker and let them finish their point. Create a safe and open-minded environment where everyone can share their ideas. Accepting different standpoints is challenging, but it helps to reach the best solutions. A meeting is a place where everyone’s point of view should be respected.

Keep to Your Path

Like we said earlier, every meeting should have a clear topic and an agenda. But as the discussion unveils, you can slip into minor topics that have nothing to do with the meeting. Always go back to the agenda immediately. And don’t be afraid to remind the participants about it and the purpose of a given gathering.

Avoid the Drama

Emotions don’t get invited to productive meetings. It’s easier said than done, as sometimes sentiments do take over. Even when the topic is very sensitive, you will only reach a solution with a cool head. So, stay calm, be rational and apply analytical thinking to everything you do.

Bad Time for a Lecture

Meetings are not for sharing information. They are for solving problems. If you can share information via mail or/and messengers before the meeting, do it. This way, you will have more time for fruitful discussion and cooperation. Instead of sharing information during a meeting, send it out beforehand. Moving along is much easier when everyone is well-informed and prepared.

Watch the Time

Hold on to your timelines. As you are waiting for people who are late for the meeting, your company money goes down the drain. Nurture the atmosphere of discipline and trust. Needing more time for a critical issue doesn’t allow you to make people compromise their schedule. When you are short of time, contact your group and let them know. Then, decide whether it’s better to prolong the current meeting or pick another time slot. Time is money, after all.

Draw Conclusions

Draw the line at the end of every meeting. It’s necessary to sum everything up so that everyone is on the same page with the same ideas. You can do this with a follow-up email or a to-do list. There should be a clear deadline and an appointee for every task. Don’t forget to track the completion rate, as it is an excellent indicator of the efficiency of your meetings.

Don’t Decorate a Meeting

Take a closer look at the meeting and its agenda before joining it. Be more selective about the meetings you attend. In some companies, a meeting invitation is a privilege. If this isn’t the case with your company, check if your presence would play any role in the outcome of the meeting before joining it. To boost your productivity throughout the week, choose one day when you won’t attend any meetings. Based on your role in the company, work with your schedule to do so.

Final Thoughts on Effective Meetings

It takes time to change well-established patterns, especially when it comes to the corporate culture of your company. Still, try giving it a shot. Choose one tip from this post, use it and see what happens. You’ll thank us later.

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