We’ve all been there; your boss calls a meeting that puts everyone half to sleep with his lack of direction. Rambling on and on about nonsensical things that have nothing to do with anyone, and everyone is thinking “why the hell am I here?”
Meetings with a lack of direction are a waste of time and a waste of company resources. Wasting the time of your employees and is not only frustrating for them but a waste of money for you. So try to keep meetings focused on important matters, and of course productive.
Let’s take a look at some guidelines you can use to hold meetings with a purpose:
Setting clear objectives is more than just handing out an agenda before the meeting, it’s sticking to it.
Make sure that a meeting is absolutely necessary before dragging your employees through a tedious and time-consuming process. How do you know whether a meeting is necessary?
Before calling a meeting, decide whether the topic is something that can be discussed over project platforms such as Slack, or can be dealt with in an email. If the answer is yes, then don’t waste anyone’s time by calling a meeting. Refer to the image below to decide whether it’s time to call a meeting, or merely call it off.
Change Things Up
Staring at the same four walls every day is just about a prison sentence, and not the inspiring work environment you should be trying to cultivate.
Try calling a meeting outside of the workplace. How about a coffee shop or cafe? Having an environment that is creatively stimulating is important for generating original ideas, and just maybe that one you’ve been waiting for.
Nobody wants to take a chunk out of their day to attend a meeting, sit down and be asked what they’d like to discuss today. When you call a meeting, make sure that there is a CLEAR objective, that you’ve prepared what you’d like to say, and those goals are achieved by the end of the meeting.
Respect the fact that people have given of their time to attend the meeting, and make sure you guide them through the process in the most efficient way possible.
Invite Relevant People
You’re holding a meeting about the newest creative project your company has taken on. I think we can all agree that Bertie from accounting doesn’t need to be there. Yet somehow companies seem to think that big meetings are the way to do things… Nope. They’re a waste of time.
Don’t let any of your employees sit wasting their time when they could be doing something far more productive. Before sending out the invite, uncheck anyone that is not relevant from the list. Uncheck anyone that doesn’t have enough insight to contribute, and uncheck anyone that’s not going to be working directly on the project.
What will you be left with? Your project superstars – the ones that actually need to be at the meeting.
Keep a Strict Schedule
If you said we’d talk about project XYZ for 10 minutes, then after 10 minutes, move on… Chances are that if you’re falling behind schedule, you’re moving onto irrelevant topics. Make sure you’re keeping a tight ship and not lingering on anything for too long.
In order to keep everyone involved and concentrating, you need to be sticking to the game plan.
No Hogging The Spotlight
Whether you’re the culprit, or it’s one of your colleagues, make sure that everyone gets a chance to put in their 2 cents worth, and bring the spotlight hoggers down a notch.
Set the standard from the very beginning by not allowing anyone to take over the conversation. The person leading the meeting should always be in control and be able to steer the conversation wherever it needs to go.
Respect People’s Time
Never let a meeting go on for more than an hour. A 60-minute meeting is stretching people’s concentration spans to pretty much THE max.
Starting on time is a big factor when it comes to ending on time. Don’t let your employees that arrived on time have to wait around for half an hour, and then your meeting ends half an hour later. This is a big waste of productive hours.
Make sure that if you said the meeting would be done after 1 hour, you start wrapping up after 50 minutes so that you’re not encroaching on anyone else’s time.
Know What’s Coming Next
After the meeting is over there needs to be a clear set of goals as to how to continue. Summarize the meeting in bullet points, so everyone remembers what the outcomes were. Set tasks for those that were assigned duties, and make sure everyone knows what the next step is.
When scheduling a meeting, make sure that you know what you’d like the outcome to be. There needs to be a purpose otherwise there’s no point. And none of this “I’m scheduling a meeting to discuss our last meeting” bullsh*t. You’re bored, that’s what that is.
Schedule meetings that make a difference, that are purposeful and are an efficient use of time.