How to make meetings more productive?

Spending time in meetings that are unnecessary is common in organizations today. People are made to sit in meetings where same updates are shared or struggle to stay awake in long meetings that are irrelevant to their work profile.

It is a fact that a big chunk of work time is spent in bad meetings. A research done by Atlassian says that people spend about 31 hours in unproductive meetings every month. Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re getting work done. There is a huge difference between being at work and getting work done. The actual work allocated to people comes to a standstill when they are constantly interrupted by reading the same follow-up e-mails and get stuck in dead-end meetings.

Below are some of the steps followed by experienced professionals to conduct productive meetings:

  • Set effective meeting start and end times and abide by the same: A meeting that starts late can never be expected to finish on time. A strict time rule will make people understand that time is the most valuable asset and the need to respect others time. This will enable one to plan his schedule accordingly and clearly understand that the entire day will go off schedule due to a single delay.
  • Allow space for a buffer time: It should be understood that people might need a break or may take time to return from another meeting if they are a part of back to back meetings.
  • State and focus on the meeting objective: Sharing a clear meeting agenda with all participants can help a great deal in keeping everyone on the track without allowing any room for diversion.
  • Give every meeting a parking lot: People go way off the topic when a diversion sounds like a discussion that is a good one to have. It can be ideal to put the idea in a “parking lot” and make a commitment to revisit that idea at a later date.
  • Recaps and conclusions: Ending every meeting with a clear recap and a plan for next meeting will give a crisp idea of the meeting even to people who have missed a major part.

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