The average employee will spend anywhere from 35-50 percent of their work time in meetings. To top it off, over 65 percent of meetings are considered unproductive and a waste of time. If your business is looking to stay productive and stop wasting time in meetings, while still collaborating with your team, here are 6 ways to do so.
Send Out An Agenda
Before your meeting even begins, make sure to send out an agenda. If your meeting starts with unclear objectives and confused attendees, it will not only waste your time, but theirs as well. By sending out an agenda, including adding clear objectives and topics that will need to be discussed, you can clear out the confusion, save time, and allow your attendees an opportunity to plan their input.
Also, to keep from wasting time in the meeting due to unprepared employees, make sure the agenda is sent out promptly and highly encouraged as mandatory reading. This will also keep your participants from coming to the meeting with no idea on what it’s about.
Stop Scheduling “Status Of” Meetings
Work will never get done if you are constantly holding “status of” meetings. While status meetings can be a smart way to monitor and manage progress of a big project, they aren’t a smart idea for smaller projects, or projects that require quite a few moving pieces. Instead, if you can get status reports via an end of the day wrap-up email, your team can save time from the constant running in and out of meetings.
Use The Right Tools
If you have remote employees or contractors, including them in a meeting can seem like a hassle. Stop seeing these people in this way — it doesn’t have to be that way. In order for your “remote employees” to feel like a part of your team — and, quite frankly — loyal to you — you will want to have them in your meetings. Greater connection and touchpoints breeds loyalty.
Tools like GoWall, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans make it easier, and more efficient, to run a meeting so you can stop wasting time.
GoWall makes it easy to “pass notes,” allowing your remote participants to chime in easily and without feeling intrusive.
GoToMeeting can transcribe your meetings, so you no longer have to worry about wasting time worrying about late comers or those who miss the meeting altogether. You can also follow up easily without setting up yet another meeting, and chat on the go (which is great for independent contractors).
BlueJeans not only offers face to face meetings with your remote workers, but also allows them to record the meeting and chime in via chat. They don’t always have to be the center of the room — or the attention. Assign someone on your local team to be over and check the chat box every now and then during the meeting.
Start On Time
Even starting a second late can derail your meetings. While it may not seem like much wait when you’re only a few seconds (or minutes) late in starting, it sets a tone for continued late comers and late meetings, thus wasting more time in an employee’s work day and work week.
End On Time
When you start on time, your meetings should end on time. You can offer a five to ten minutes early chat so everyone can ask about each other without you there. When you enter the “call room” it is commonly known that everyone stops talking and they are ready for the meeting.
Gently control constant talkers –(hey! Great subject — let’s talk about this in a later on Slack). Keep your topics clear, concise and to the point — but make sure everyone is heard. If you call out names — the person will begin to come to the meeting with one liner questions. You will free up a lot of wasted time.
Always have someone be your shut off. “Okay Ken has just signaled me that our time is up. Good to see you all. Next meeting is, of course, Monday at 7 AM MST.” Simple traditions that you always adhere to — no matter what– will have you ending on time– every time.
Perform An Ice Breaker
While this may seem counterintuitive, performing an ice breaker with your team at the start of your meeting has some great benefits. Not only does it increase productivity, but it also builds team communication, which is needed in meetings — to put your team at ease. To top it all off, it’s a fun way to introduce new team members, engage your participants, and make sure no one is bored-stiff during the meeting time.
So what are the best known ice breakers that your team can use to start the meeting off right? Game tournaments, “Would you rather” questions — or out of the box thinking games are all great ways to start, and highly voted by employees and team members alike.
While you don’t have to have an ice breaker every single time you have a meeting, these can be just what your team needs to start a meeting off on the right foot.
Finish With A Plan
Just as you started your meeting with an agenda, it’s important to end your meeting with a plan. While the meeting itself may be productive, if you don’t have a plan of attack for your team members, topics and subjects that were discussed could be lost. Not only does this mean that your team members could forget what was discussed, they could also forget what needs to be completed now that the meeting is over.
Your plan doesn’t have to be extensive, but letting your team members know what you expect and what needs to be accomplished can be a great way to keep the meeting fresh in their minds so they can be ready to tackle their work.
Meetings don’t have to be a waste of time. In fact, meetings can be productive to your business and your team. Following these six ways can guarantee that you no longer waste time in your meetings, and that your team can collaborate and finish their work on time and efficiently.