Meetings can be the pits. Especially when you’re doing your best to be as productive as possible with your day. So how can we make them a little less painful?
We’re not a big fan of wasting time in meetings, especially when they can be avoided or weren’t even necessary in the first place. Sometimes, you find yourself wondering what you’re supposed to do after the meeting. In fact, they can actually end up draining you of your productivity. Brian Patterson over at AllBusiness Experts knows this struggle all too well. He is no stranger to dealing with this very issue. In fact, he wrote an article all about how to make meetings a little less soul-sucking to deal with. Check out his tips below!
1. Demand an agenda
Most meetings head off the tracks because they’re lacking something pretty simple: an agenda. You wouldn’t drive off somewhere without knowing where you’re going, so why should anyone have to attend a meeting without even know what it’s going to cover? As Patterson said:
“I’ve heard of executives who won’t attend meetings without being provided an agenda first.”
Don’t be afraid to put your foot down. Simply explain that you would like to be prepared so you can take away all of the necessary information. This will display your dedication and involvement and the ability to nudge the wheels back on track should you be faced with derailment.
2. Appoint someone to track and distribute meeting minutes and action items
If you don’t have someone who attends the meetings to take notes, it would be wise to suggest this idea. Some places often record them and later have an employee transcribe what was said. This works well, too, but only if the actual pertinent points are highlighted. If this isn’t currently part of the meeting process, then take charge of the situation. Create an outline of what took place and send it out to your team members and managers. That way, everyone is in the know and old material won’t constantly be recycled.
3. Incorporate useful software
Part of the reason why meetings can feel so draining is because you end up listening to one person drone on and on while you find your mind wandering to the pile of work sitting on your desk, seemingly looming over you. Which, in turn, makes you pay more attention to the clock than what’s being said. Technology has blessed us with loads of useful tools to create effective meetings. Patterson suggested using video calls instead of the phone. Also, he mentions one program that has a lot of great reviews.
“We also use Attentiv, a meeting management tool, to centralize our agendas, notes, and action items. It also allows us to send questions to attendees in real-time and gather quick feedback. It saves us time and also gets us more honest and detailed opinions rather than people nodding along so as to not be a dissenting voice.”
If you want to get everyone involved and listening, this would be a great option to implement!
4. Right-size the amount of time scheduled
There must be some unwritten law somewhere about how to hold a meeting, because most that pop up are either 30 or 60 minutes long. It’s like someone, somewhere, decided that this was the standard. But what if you don’t even need that much time to go over the material? People tend to feel the need to fill that time up, then. Patterson had an idea for that, too:
“If I suspect a meeting could and should be faster, I’ll schedule it for 15 minutes instead of 30, or perhaps 40 minutes instead of an hour. Is it quirky? Yep! But it works!”
Looking for more tips on becoming productive? Reach out to our experts for more information on our business improvement services!