5 Ways to make a meeting more productive

5 Ways to make a meeting more productive

For businesses, large or small, to operate smoothly and function correctly, owners, managers and staff alike will need to meet regularly and stay up to date on targets, figures and operations. Only problem is so many businesses do meetings wrong. Stop wasting time with these tips to make the most out of your meetings:

1. Give me a reason!

Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur (and bona fide trending topic) Elon Musk once asked an abrupt, yet honest question to a participant in a meeting:

“You haven’t said anything. Why are you in here?”

Some might call it rude or outlandish, but outlandish is what’s necessary to remind us what our purpose is. Why wait for the middle of a meeting to ask something like this? It is the manager’s responsibility to set an agenda for a meeting and send that out to those involved. Instead of just sending out talking points, try putting together a list of questions the staff need to answer so that conversation is sparked and the team isn’t just forced to listen to their manager speak the whole time.

2. Plan ahead!

Last-minute meeting to discuss something that can be organized tomorrow? Here’s an idea: Discuss it tomorrow! Unless something serious requires immediate attention, you should not be having meetings organized just that morning. It’s annoying for staff if they have already made plans after work (you don’t want a meeting full of disgruntled employees) and it doesn’t give them enough time to go over talking points.

For a meaningful meeting with genuine success, staff should be well-read up on the topic and ready to present their views.

3. Stand-up guys

Look at your meeting’s agenda. Will it take longer than 20 minutes? No? Try holding a standing meeting. Business Insider posits, based on research, that quick standing meetings can act as “status updates” and despite being up to 34% shorter than regular sit-down meetings, they can achieve just as much.

Standing is an uncomfortable position to be in compared to sitting. Meeting members are more likely to absorb information quickly and contribute to move things along. Some small businesses even encourage discomfort by making members carry a weight while speaking so that their arms hurt as a reminder that they’ve spoken too long.

These approaches can come across as crude but they boost efficiency and less time is lost to the ether.

4. Get a room!

Coffee shops are stereotypical settings for meetings. They shouldn’t be. Coffee machine noise and the bustle of interesting conversations happening in every direction make coffee shops nightmares of distraction. If you don’t have a dedicated meeting room at your actual small business location, try hiring one.

5. Goal!

Sending talking points to employees in advance goes hand in hand with setting goals in those talking points. Is there a problem you’re trying to solve in this meeting? Are you trying to deliver news about an important change? What is point B in this meeting and have you made it there?

Your meeting must yield a result and that’s impossible to do if a result hasn’t been planned for. Take notes on meetings and archive them to keep track of how goals are progressing.

In conclusion, meetings don’t need to be a waste of time or an excuse for your staff to hate you and play Candy Crush instead. Small, simple tweaks can be the difference between boredom and brilliance. Make these changes and come up with some of your own! Spend less time meeting about targets and more time hitting them!