A lot of people who work in the business world spend a lot of time complaining about long, boring, and unproductive meetings. Meetings like this can have a bad impact on morale, productivity, and motivation. Why can’t meetings be shorter and more productive?
Luckily, a lot of companies are starting to improve the way they manage their meetings. Here are some of the best secrets to a productive meeting. If you’re a manager or a team leader, implement these, and if you’re a team member, you can suggest these to make your meetings less of a headache.
Time isn’t the real issue
A lot of people complain that they don’t have enough time and that meetings can steal a lot of important work time from them. Another way to look at this problem is to concentrate on the energy levels that you have. If you need to have a longer meeting, plan in some breaks so that you can keep productivity levels at a maximum. Manage your energy, not your time.
Make meetings shorter
Even if you’re sitting around the best conference table, people will get bored and uncomfortable if they’re sat there too long. Setting a time limit of ten to fifteen minutes for most meetings can help a lot. Some managers find it helps to set an actual timer to go off when the meeting is finished.
The reason for this time limit is that all research shows that our attention span goes into a progressive decline if meetings last for much longer than this. People will be able to retain more information in a shorter meeting.
Plan meetings only when needed
Most companies have a set time and day for meetings. This means that productivity will slow down because of a set schedule. It’s far more productive to only meet when you need to, need decisions to be made and action points need to be finalized.
Meet standing up or somewhere else
Some research suggests that sitting down can increase territorial issues. People feel comfortable and want to assert their position. This is harder to do when you’re all standing up. Meeting participants will feel less at ease and want to get things done more quickly. Try a quick standing meeting and see how productive it can be.
Planning the meeting agenda in advance
A short meeting still needs to have a clear agenda. Circulate the agenda before the meeting if you can, to help people to prepare and focus on the issue that needs to be talked about.
Create a smartphone-free zone
Ask people about their colleagues using smartphones or tablets during meetings. A lot of people actually don’t like it, as it shows a lack of respect and shows that people aren’t fully present.
It’s better to make the meeting area a smartphone-free zone and encourage people to leave their phones back at their desks or in a basket in the meeting room, so you can hold their full attention during the meeting.