It is estimated that workers spend approximately 9-10 hours every week either attending or preparing for business meetings. There is significant debate on whether meetings are actually effective or if they are just time wasters in disguise. The truth is that meetings will always be a part of business, but they certainly don’t have to be a waste of time.
With the right approach, meetings CAN be productive and useful. One of the most effective ways to make meetings better is to have an agenda and to stick to it. Agendas should be typed up beforehand by the person or team that will be leading the meeting, not an administrative assistant. Pick a start time, set a time for the meeting to end and stick to the schedule.
In addition to starting and ending the meeting on time, it is important to eliminate distractions. Materials and needed documents should be passed out before the meeting starts, and food, unless the meeting will run through lunch time, should be eliminated. Since phones can be a major distraction, meetings should begin with a reminder for people to keep their phones out of the meeting or on a do not disturb setting.
If issues can be discussed without calling a formal meeting, choose a one-on-one discussion or simply use email to handle matters at hand. When meetings are not called for unnecessary reasons, people tend to employ a more serious and business-like approach when they are scheduled.
Meetings may be a necessary part of your business structure, but you have the power to make them an effective tool for positive growth, not an organized way to waste time and frustrate your staff.