22 percent of Americans believe that meetings are a waste of time, according to research by Klaxoon, a company dedicated to improving workplace collaboration. If you find that your meetings run long, don’t achieve the intended purpose, or fail to keep your employees engaged, it might be time to rethink the formula.
Successful meetings are ones that are relevant, organized, and allow for equal collaboration from all participants involved. They also lead to decisive outcomes and ensure that the work discussed in the meeting actually happens afterwards. Check out these five simple ways to make your meetings more productive.
1. Define Clear Goals
Before you launch into your weekly meeting, be sure that you’re not just coming together for the sake of it. What is the meeting about? 48 percent of those surveyed stated that meetings failed because they had no clear purpose and the goals weren’t established beforehand.
Sticking to the SMART goals guidelines and making sure that your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based can make the difference between success and failure. An employee scrolling through their Facebook or taking down notes of the most important action points.
2. Respect the Time
38 percent of Americans daydream during meetings, and 35 percent complain of meetings being too long. It’s not as if your employees have time to spare dragging their heels in an unfocused meeting, where you’re steering off topic while they’re counting the minutes. And as a matter of fact, neither do you.
So, respect the time and don’t go beyond the allocated slot. Being super specific, such as requesting a 22-minute meeting, rather than half an hour, is a great way to ensure that everyone stays focused and keeps their contributions to the point.
3. Use an Agenda
According to 48 percent of those surveyed, meetings are more successful when they have a clear agenda. So, beyond knowing why your meeting is going to take place, break your objectives down into manageable tasks. If you want to discuss reducing customer churn, for example, be clear about which departments need to give their input and when. Allocating slots for people to speak will ensure that everyone goes away feeling like they had an equal opportunity to contribute.
4. Reduce Distractions
With the chief distractor usually being the smartphone, and meeting participants often checking social media or working on other projects, it can be tempting to ban them from the room. But the smartphone can be an excellent tool to make your meetings more productive and fun.
Klaxoon makes your team’s smartphone a pivotal part of the meeting, using techniques such as surveys, quizzes, and brainstorming to keep everyone tuned in. Rather than being the distraction in the room, it becomes the focus, with a range of apps that help stimulate group discussion and harness the power of collective intelligence.
5. Try Meeting Face to Face
It may be difficult with geographically dispersed team members and different staff in different locations. But if your meeting is really important, try getting everyone together in the same room. With virtual meetings on the rise, there’s always the scope for them to run longer due to technological problems and time delays.
But 38 percent of participants confess to zoning out when they’re not speaking, and 31 percent say that there is not enough participation from everyone when meetings are virtual. It may not be possible to get real facetime with your clients or employees. But, be sure to meet on camera every now and again if that’s the only solution. It’s much harder to wander off when you’re staring straight at your boss.
It can be hard to keep your team focused during a meeting, but try sticking to these basic rules. If participants know that your meetings are organized and on time, and that they won’t eat into too much of their days, they’ll get off to a better start. When the purpose is clear and their smartphones make the meeting more productive and effective, everybody wins.