Can you make your meetings more productive?

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Dull and boring or exciting and productive – your choice.

 

 

Good meetings should lift morale and productivity

Some people become dejected because they lose focus in their business. Good meetings can help you to restore your focus and stay on track.

They start chasing rainbows and spreading their energy over many less important things than the strategic projects they’ve designed to make their business successful.

Adopting a keep-it-moving approach to meetings usually, keeps ideas flowing. When we get stuck or the meeting becomes boring, change course. Call a break, ditch the agenda, reschedule the meeting with new information or, end the meeting altogether.

 

Invite others to your meetings to provide objectivity and perspective

Some people just get tired or try to take on too much and as a result, they fail to do anything well. Achieving your aspirations isn’t always easy, or everyone would be doing it. It takes hard work, and sometimes that wears you out.

Sometimes you can decide that “just for this week” they won’t work on my strategic projects, my big problems and frustrations, or update their KPIs, I need to clean up all the things I have been putting off”.

Sounds like a good thing to do, but this is commonly called fire fighting fires and becoming involved in the busy, busy syndrome. The week will come and go and you will still have an overloaded to-do-list

If this happens again then pretty soon you’ll find yourself bogged down and not moving important things forward at all. Try to avoid leaning on your own understanding. Rather than spending countless hours reading through email chains and clarifying meaning, meetings are often the most effective means to ensure alignment of all the organisation’s activities.

A well-structured meeting is one way to put you and your team into top gear and refocus on what is really important and what will have the biggest positive impact on your projects and your organisation.

 

“You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions”.   Steve Case

 

There are also situations in which people stay ‘in the red’ week after week, month after month and nobody does anything about it, they are too busy to have proper meetings. That sends the message that good performance isn’t important and inevitably performance slacks off and the business closes.

 

Find your answers in productive meetings

We know people hate meetings, they see them as a big waste of time, usually because the meetings they go to don’t help them accomplish anything worthwhile. They are too concerned with minor issues or are ineffective in solving their particular issues.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you want to achieve results, or to become a great business, you have to be involved in productive meetings. Meetings should help you be more productive, not less. They can actually save you time instead of waste, particularly if you are a new business.

If you find running meetings difficult, try engaging an external meeting facilitator.

 

Keys to productive meetings

Don’t fall into the trap of having long extended meetings simply because you are lonely and crave for some company. Better to set up two meetings than having one long drawn out one, which is usually boring and not the best use of people’s time.

  • Every productive meeting must have a purpose.
  • Every meeting must have an agenda. Be sure to keep them short.
  • Productive meetings have a clear process, defined by the agenda.
  • All meetings should start and finish on time.
  • Preparation is key to productive meetings.
  • Productive meetings are characterised by the participation of everyone present.
  • Open discussion is always encouraged.
  • In a productive meeting, everyone should make progress.
  • Everyone should leave the meeting better off than when they entered.
  • Once you start a subject, discuss it thoroughly.
  • Press for closure on what has been decided.
  • Decide who’s going to do what and by when, before you move on?
  • The more important the decisions, the more important to have them recorded.

 

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over”.  Richard Branson

 

When the training of employees and volunteers is necessary, meetings are often the best solution. This is not the same as classroom training, but more targeted to meet immediate needs, such as when educating your people before a new product or service release.

 

Don’t lose your momentum

We all lose motivation once in a while and if we don’t regain it you could be faced with severe problems.

How often do you get started on a project, full of enthusiasm, then slowly feel yourself losing motivation? The work that you used to look forward to starts to feel like a chore. You wonder why you’re even bothering to continue. You might even give up on the project altogether.

Well, try calling a meeting with all those involved. You will either see the way forward again or you will can the project. Whatever the outcome at least you will clear the air and get on with business.

 

The age of the virtual meeting is here to stay

Studies suggest that productivity is reduced by as much as 40% when switching between activities. If the meeting is short, why add 15 to 30 minutes onto it by making attendees stop what they are doing and walk (or worse, drive) to the meeting room, wait for others to attend and then reset themselves when they return to their work?

Try video conferencing, there are many good applications that take only a minute to set up and you can be having a meeting one-on-one or a meeting with many.

Your meetings online will be free from travel expenses and other restrictions, and they can be organised more frequently. You can meet people, service customers and train staff from around the world every day or even several times a day.

Video conferencing is also an essential tool in contexts of teleworking and telecommuting or working away from the office, often in the home office.

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience

Meetings can provide you with objectivity and perspective. When a solution is not readily available or you need innovative concepts, a brainstorming meeting may be just what the doctor ordered.

If your business has a created a mobile or flexible working arrangements, one way to improve communications and interactions and reporting is video conferencing.

If you really want to save time try having meetings standing up. Insist on your attendees stay standing throughout the meeting,  especially on routine reporting. You will be surprised how quickly the meeting will finish.

However, never lose sight of the social and bonding that can happen when you hold a meeting.

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