How Productive Are Your Meetings?

We have all had the experience of sitting through meetings which don’t yield results. They last too long, they are not focused, and most importantly, they don’t resolve anything. This is a phenomenal waste of time and money.

Regular meetings are important, particularly in a growing organization. They give the leadership team the opportunity to review staff actions and performance, launch initiatives, and track progress towards stated goals. However, these meetings must be formatted in such a way which will result in progress towards goals.

Management must set expectations around the conduct of meetings. First every meeting must start on time every time. There should be no distraction; some leaders require mobile phones be muted. The leader must have a clear agenda and the express the expectation that attendees are prepared to discuss their assignments with the group. Discussion of every agenda item should result in an action item. Whether the issue requires more study, input from another department, or is completed and dropped off the agenda, no item should be left unresolved.

There is no reason for a meeting to last more than an hour. Focus tends to be lost in interminable meetings as attendees become distracted, discourse becomes unproductive, and facilitators lose control of the audience. Setting a 60-minute time limit will keep everyone on task.

There are a number of meeting templates out there which are worth reviewing. Some of them even have time scheduled for personal announcements, which can be gotten out of the way first thing. You’ll notice that every meeting looks the same in terms of order of reports, group discussion, and resolution. Again, every report and discussion must result in an action item.

By establishing an agenda, setting expectations, moving initiatives towards resolution, you will find your meetings more efficient, more engaging and most importantly- more productive,