Meetings are essential for the success of any business. They allow people to collaborate and share information, keep updated on company news and make decisions together. Then why do most employees absolutely hate to attend meetings? And what should management change in order to have truly effective meetings?
Read forward to find out how to increase the productivity of your meetings, but also which are the alternatives and why is it important to get on board ASAP.
Increasing productivity in face-to-face meetings
There are many things that can go wrong and prevent a team from having effective meetings. Here are a couple of ways team leaders and managers can follow to discover the mistakes and improve the results.
1. Setting clear goals is mandatory
There is clearly a reason behind every meeting. However, you would be surprised to know how many managers call meetings without preparing a clear list of goals beforehand. Just discussing stuff or making an announcement is far from making a meeting productive.
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Discussions get deviated and it’s hard to get back to the point when the point is not clearly stated. Therefore, creating an agenda with clear objectives for every meeting is a smart and simple solution to increase productivity and effectiveness. Team meetings can be made even more effective if everyone collaborates to setting the agenda.
2. The clock is ticking
Starting meetings 10-15 minutes later than scheduled costs companies thousands of dollars every year. Waiting for the people who arrive late is one of the most common mistakes that lead to less effective meetings.
Even more, it hurts everyone’s morale, creating a slippery slope. Knowing that a few people will be late and meetings rarely start on time anyhow, more and more participants will stop putting in the effort of being on time. So instead of penalizing reliable people by making them wait for the unreliable, you should make it a rule to always start meetings on time, no matter who is late. Late arrivals can catch up during or after the meeting.
3. Give everyone a chance
It’s always a good idea to let people express themselves. However, some attendees might have more to say than others, which leads to situations when 20-30% of people are taking over 70-80% of the time. The easiest way to avoid that is by giving everyone the chance to talk for the same amount of time.
A no-interruption rule should also be applied for timed interventions. This prevents the persons more inclined to speak from intimidating those who rarely take the word. Collaboration is much more effective when everyone is involved.
4. Less is more
Not being invited to a meeting can create panic among employees, which is why managers usually end up inviting too many people. However, productivity experts warn that the most productive meetings involve 8 or less people. For every extra person added to a meeting, the decision-making process becomes about 10% less effective.
Successful entrepreneurs know this very well. It is the reason why for example Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos claims that you should never have more people in a meeting than you could feed with two pizzas. The more people you ask to work together, the less chances they have to actually succeed. This is why teams are usually made of a fairly small number of people.
5. Keep it short
It is estimated that the average adult has an attention span of about 25 minutes. After that, most of the information is being lost and everyone’s time gets wasted. Keeping meetings short and on the subject is what you should aim for. Allowing everyone to talk for no more than 2 or 3 minutes, starting the meeting on time, and having clear goals will all help keeping meetings productive and short.
Of course, there are other tricks you can try – such as kicking the chairs and opting for standing meetings. When everyone is on their toes, their focus increases and so does their will of keeping to the point in order to wrap it up faster.
6. No electronics
Studies show that at least half of the participants in a meeting will check their phones way before the meeting is over. A large portion of attendees use their laptops to check emails, social media accounts or do other activities during the meeting. For this reason, many companies decided to implement a “no electronics” rule in their conference room – except for the presentations.
The future is now. Ride the wave!
Following the guidelines discussed above is guaranteed to make your meetings much more productive. However, in this day and age the fast paced technology advancement promises to put an end to meetings as we currently know them. With more and more companies choosing to work with remote teams, this is not a matter of the future. It is already happening, and only those companies that will be able to adapt are going to survive. Virtual meetings are coming to solve many of the productivity issues that make conference-room meetings such a hassle.
Unlike classic office meetings, virtual meetings don’t require people to interrupt work and move to a different location, which saves precious time. Even people who can’t be there will be there. Team collaboration becomes so much easier when it doesn’t have to abide by geographic constraints!
Using a specialized team collaboration solution, such as Hubgets, allows participants to collaborate in real-time, by sharing ideas, documents, videos, files, and other materials. Everyone gets access to resources not only during the meeting but also for ulterior revision. The digital environment makes access to information much faster. Searching for information about the topic discussed in real-time adds extra value, which would be a lot more complicated to do in face-to-face meetings.
Last but not least, virtual meetings reduce the carbon footprint and are extremely cheap to run. No need to rent a venue, or even have a permanent office. Log in your Hubgets account, choose the proper Topic and you’ll have there all the information you need to get things going or pick them up where they were left off 🙂
Been there? Done that?
Let’s face it, we’ve all been through meetings that tested our patience and killed our productivity. But there are ways to enjoy effective meetings!
Please share your experience with us and our readers. Have you tried the recommendations discussed above? Do you have other tips for collaborating and making meetings more productive? Let us know by posting a comment in the section below.