How to Make the Most of a Meeting

No matter the industry or size of a company, all have one thing in common, meetings. They’re a great way to get every employee on the same page, review any upcoming events, or strategize a plan. Though meant to be beneficial, sometimes meetings can take time away from the hours needed for other projects or tasks. According to the muse, more than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings. The following is a list of tips on how to make the most of meetings, whether you’re in a leadership position or a member of the team.

1. Create an agenda

Come prepared to a meeting with your coworkers. Make sure there is a set plan and have talking points already laid out before starting. This will save everyone time and also ensures that the meeting runs smoothly.

2. Try a change of scenery

Holding a group discussion in the same location every time can get repetitive and stale. Try holding a meeting in a nearby coffee shop or over lunch. A change of scenery for meeting locations can prevent employees from getting bored and encourage involvement.

3. Start and end on time

Nothing is more frustrating than attending a meeting that starts or ends late. Respect your coworkers’ time by sticking to the schedule originally set. People likely have other work that needs their attention, so staying strict to the schedule is important whether or not your day is flexible.

4. Leave a meeting with clear “takeaways”

Setting clear objectives will help make the meeting productive. Make sure everyone attending understands their next steps before the meeting ends. If not sure about assigned takeaways, speak up. Clearly specifying and delegating tasks ensures that no one’s time was wasted.

5. Stay on topic

Staying on the topic can be important, but can also be tricky with a large group of people. If you notice the discussion getting off task take lead and pull everyone back in the right direction.

6.  Encourage participation

Don’t let one or two people take charge of the meeting. Make sure everyone’s ideas and opinions are heard. This will make a better team dynamic and also ensure all options are presented.

7. Be exclusive

When calling a meeting only require those necessary to attend. Having employees join that aren’t needed can be frustrating and take away from other tasks they could be working on.

8. Be a good listener

When in a meeting, listen to what everyone has to say. Take notes so you don’t have to ask a co-worker or boss a question regarding something that was already discussed.

Next time you see a meeting invite pop up on your work calendar or have to schedule one yourself, take these tips into consideration. While you may not be able to avoid numerous meetings in a work day, you can begin putting these suggestions into practice to help improve the productivity of getting together.

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