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10 Ideas for Productive Meetings

Does the word "meeting" fill you with dread and overwhelm?

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Meetings.

What emotions do you feel when you hear that word?

Or when you’re invited to one?

Anger?

Frustration?

Overwhelm?

Or maybe you experience physical issues like pain in your neck, head or elsewhere?

You’re not alone.

We’ve all been to meetings that we felt were a waste of time. And that’s because the meeting planner didn’t know what they were doing. Maybe they weren’t trained correctly.

Here are 10 ideas to consider if you want to make your meetings more productive.

WHO NEEDS TO BE AT THE MEETING?

I remember reading Walter Isaacson’s biography about Steve Jobs. In it, he shared the story about a meeting Steve held in which there was someone that he wasn’t expecting. He asked her rather bluntly, “who are you?” When she told him, he replied, “we won’t be needing you here.”

I’m not saying do what Steve Jobs did…but do take a look at who REALLY needs to be at your meeting.

DON’T SERVE REFRESHMENTS

This is a meeting to discuss the business at hand…not a social or networking opportunity. Eliminate coffee, water, soda and food.

SEND MINUTES AND THE AGENDA VIA EMAIL

Don’t waste time reading the minutes from the last meeting or discussing the agenda. Instead, email this out to the invitees beforehand.

GOT QUESTIONS?

As much as possible, encourage invitees to send in their questions ahead of the meeting or topics they want to discuss at the meeting so they can be added to the agenda.

2 THINGS ABOUT THE AGENDA

Make sure you have an agenda and that you stick to the agenda. Don’t stray from it. Respect people’s time.

START ON TIME, END EARLY (IF POSSIBLE)

In case you weren’t aware, no one (that I’ve ever heard of) looks forward to taking time out of their day to attend a meeting.

So, respect their time by starting on time – avoid “we’ll wait a few more minutes for the stragglers”. If someone is late, they’re late.

And then end when the business of the meeting is complete. If it’s slated for 11-Noon and everything is done by 11:35am, end the meeting. Don’t go around the room/table asking if anyone has anything to say or discuss.

WHERE SHOULD THE MEETING BE HELD?

Strive to hold the meeting in a central location as much as possible. If your company has many buildings and every building has a conference room, where are most of the people located? If you’re inviting 10 people and 8 are in one building…majority rules.

POWERFUL BUT LIMITED

If you’ve decided to only invite a few people to the meeting, survey them to determine the best day and time for them. Obviously, there are no promises. Of course, the more people being invited to the meeting, the less this makes sense.

HAVE A STANDING MEETING

Do you like standing for a long period of time? I’m guessing not. Most people don’t.

So…if you want to have an effective but no-nonsense meeting, have a standing meeting. A lot of places do this: hospitals at shift change, car dealerships before the day begins, etc.

ONE MORE THING

Why do you need to have the meeting anyway?

I’ve seen (and experienced) daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings that were an utter waste of time. Zero value.

Before you schedule that next meeting, take a moment and figure out your why. If you don’t have one, then don’t have the meeting.

I trust this post served you well. If you’re an attendee and not the meeting planner (or boss), consider forwarding this article to them. Blame me…I can take it.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time and attention more than you know.

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