Meetings are a necessary part of the working week. And whether you love the group decision-making process or hate the disruption to your day, it’s true that many meetings can all start to feel the same.
LinkedIn have previously discussed business meetings as a source of distraction rather than productivity, and a recent study from Citrix revealed that UK office workers consider most meetings time-wasters. Luckily, there are ways that you can reclaim your meetings and make them a valuable part of the day.
1. Keep it small
Don’t overload your boardroom with people – keep meetings small so that the meeting remains focused and all voices are heard. The more people in the room, the more open the meeting will be to tailing off, whereas a small group will mean fewer voices, fewer opinions, and a more concise discussion.
2. Get on your feet
An increasing number of businesses are trying out ‘scrum’ meetings, where those in attendance stand for the duration. This technique means you don’t have time to get comfortable and sink into your chair. Points may be made faster if people have the incentive of getting back to the comfort of their desk, and the meeting will have a more dynamic atmosphere if people are free to move.
There is also the option of walking meetings, which will take you out of the office and into the fresh air. Again, the meeting will have a time limit because of the pressure of walking, and will keep everyone refreshed.
3. Banish digital distractions
Put a stop to people checking their phones during meetings (within reason). The distraction of a phone means you do not have someone’s undivided attention, which can lead to frustration on the part of the person holding the meeting. As well as this is the necessity of repeating points for anyone distracted by Facebook or Twitter. Ban phones and even laptops to ensure you have the full attention of your co-workers.
4. Set clear roles
By appointing a decision maker, the meeting will have someone to guide and ultimately finish proceedings. Rather than allowing voices to conflict and get lost, the decision maker role keeps the meeting on track. They will also ensure that every voice is heard and every opinion registered in an orderly manner.
5. Time it
Don’t let a meeting drag on. Set a strict time limit, ideally under 30 minutes, that will ensure people have both a specific period of time to remain focused, and will also force a resolution to be met by the close of the meeting. Be realistic about the length of time that will get the best out of a team.
6. Be decisive
Ensure that there is ultimately a focus on decisions and resolutions, rather than the problem becoming the focus. This positive attitude of focusing always on solutions will drive the meeting towards a productive end.
There should always be a take-away of concrete results so that everyone in attendance feels a sense of resolution, and again, be realistic about what can be achieved in the allotted space of time, and what needs to be bookmarked for a different time.