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How to Lead a Highly Productive Meeting

As more people work remotely and access the Internet on smartphones and tablets, planning a productive meeting can be tough. Careful consideration has to go into preparing for a meeting beforehand to help your colleagues and managers stay on track. That way they aren’t distracted by email pop-ups, internet outages and long-winded questions that go […]

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As more people work remotely and access the Internet on smartphones and tablets, planning a productive meeting can be tough. Careful consideration has to go into preparing for a meeting beforehand to help your colleagues and managers stay on track. That way they aren’t distracted by email pop-ups, internet outages and long-winded questions that go off-topic.

Here are a few ways to help boost productivity for your next meeting.

Prepare Your Meeting Materials, Dial-In and Attendee List Beforehand

Waiting until the last minute can leave you shuffling papers looking for your dial-in details. Or, you might find that you’re missing important documents from your presentation.

To avoid this:

  • Prepare all your documents prior to your meeting and confirm you have the most recent materials.
  • Ensure you have all attendee names and contact numbers.
  • If the meeting is a video conference or call, start it a few minutes early to troubleshoot the line/internet connection.
  • Keep your phone nearby in case anyone is having trouble (or might have the mute button on or post-it blocking their webcam).

Tune In For the Meeting and Tune Out the Other Devices

Meetings should be a time when everyone participates and focuses their attention on the topic at hand. To keep everyone focused on your meeting, turn the extra devices off.

To help tune in for meetings:

  • Ask questions and seek input from others.
  • Use video conferencing instead of conference calls as you can see your fellow colleagues and they’ll be less likely to surf the net if others are watching them.
  • Use metrics, key performance indicators and action items to keep everyone accountable.  

Start On Time and Stick to a Set Time and Follow a Meeting Agenda

Having an agenda and timeline keeps everyone on track. It also lets your colleagues and managers know when the meeting will start and end.

Here are a few tips:

  • Start with pressing matters first. This lets managers or anyone who needs to leave early step out or end their part of the call or meeting and you can continue.
  • Allow time for each topic and leave time for a Q&A if applicable.
  • Limit responses that others give to a few minutes to keep meetings on track.
  • Take notes and record the meeting. Then follow-up with people that have questions that require more research.
  • Start on time and have a hard stop so the meeting or call won’t conflict with other scheduled items.

Record Your Meetings for Absentees

Even if you plan well in advance, meetings still might conflict with someone’s schedule. Record your meetings through your voice over internet provider (VoIP) phone system if you’re having a conference call or video conference.

VoIP lets you record conference calls, meetings and video conferences and you can seamlessly email colleagues a link to the meeting along with any meeting materials. That way absentees, people who are late and those that might be traveling can still access the meeting content when they have time.

Plan More Successful Meetings

Successful meetings have a consistent flow and are more productive when you’re organized. Stick to your agenda and hold attendees responsible for action items. Ask for input, focus on the important matters at hand and limit response times while also recording meetings for late attendees and those who might be traveling. These are all ways to keep your meetings on track and help keep them highly-productive.

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