Meetings. Most of us think they take too much time, but we do have to have them. Let’s look at how you can save time by making meetings more effective.
In a month that’s the gateway to a string of holidays (and the cooking, relatives, parties, travel, relatives, parties, fundraisers, shopping, wrapping, and gifting that comes with it), there’s no better time than now to prioritize what really needs to get done and what can be cut away, then communicate that clearly to your staff.
Whether you have attended or run them, meeting formats can become like driving – so second nature sometimes you may not even remember how you got from point A to B!
Time is money but time is also precious to YOU… and staff morale. If you waste employees time on less significant matters, unclear purpose or action items, or allowing the discussion to meander off-topic, you can incur a triple loss, affecting their motivation which affects productivity, which then affects the results!
With fresh eyes, let’s review meeting building blocks for ways you may be able to make your meetings more productive:
- Only invite people that need to be included
- Show up on time
- Eliminate distractions: ie: Don’t put food out or play music hoping to make people happy at the start.
- Minimize time lost to tech glitches by setting visual presentations or conference calls in advance. Test if you can beforehand. And know who to call in if you need tech help
- Have not only a short agenda, but jot down down points you want to make and any people you want to recognize- then stick to that focus
- Open with the objective of the meeting.
- Whomever leads the meeting, set up another person to steer it back if you tend to get off track
- When something of value warrants further discussion, suggest the key people continue offline (and report back if needed).
- Make sure your people know you are listening. Be present, rather than thinking of the next point. Make and hold eye contact with those contributing. Online look right into the camera, use body language to show you’re with them.
- Ask: “What will you need to accomplish that?” or “Who can help with this?”
- Close with a clear summary of what’s action steps or what was achieved
- Have good notes taken to share right after with all attendees, or in less than 24 hours. Make sure they are streamlined: key items, bulleted with clean font – anything to encourage review, and ask for feedback where relevant
Bottom line, the best tip for how to save time with more effective meetings, is about how YOU prepare! Not only will they take less time – including follow up, repeating info, minimizing glitches caused by misunderstanding (because someone fell asleep in the meeting), your staff will be happier, and more productive, and all of that will save time and money in the long run!
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