Meetings often consume the majority of your workday. How many times have you asked yourself, “How can I get out of this meeting?” or “Did that meeting really need to be an hour long?”
It’s possible to have more efficient and enjoyable meetings for everyone involved. So in the spirit of brevity, here are eight tips on meeting productivity improvement.
1. Find the right space.
Finding the right environment for your meeting is crucial. Holding meetings in a good space where employees are relaxed and can focus will increase your meeting’s productivity level. Stay away from rooms with too many windows as these allow for too many outside distractions, and don’t hold meetings out in the open where the surrounding area is noisy.
The right meeting environment also means the right-sized room, so be sure you find and book a meeting room that’s big enough for the planned amount of attendees. Solutions for conference room scheduling are great resources that allow you to find and book a room based on capacity and the needed technology resources, such as whiteboards or video conferencing equipment.
2. Have an agenda and stick to it.
Meetings lacking an agenda are a waste of time. If you aren’t clear in your meeting objectives, you can be sure your meeting won’t be efficient and productive, so it’s worth it to spend a little more time on the agenda. Meetings can derail within a matter of seconds without a common focus, so make the focus clear as day with your meeting agenda.
3. Keep meetings short.
People’s attention spans are short – shorter than a goldfish – thanks to all our digital devices. The longer your meeting goes, the more likely it is that attendees aren’t paying attention. When you can, schedule 30-minute meetings instead of an hour. If you need hour-long meetings, take a short five-minute break halfway through. Just remember, when you schedule a meeting to last an hour, it’s going to take an hour to get through. For faster, more productive meetings, try cutting your meeting time in half and taking questions at the end.
4. Be punctual.
Keep your meetings productive and punctual by starting and ending on time. Don’t wait for stragglers. You could end up waiting 10-15 minutes and waste half of your meeting time. Start your meetings on time, and soon enough others will get the hint and start being more punctual and respectful of everyone’s time.
To be held accountable for your scheduled meeting times, use conference room displays to encourage timely check in for the room, and then set a timer on your phone to keep the meeting on track. When the timer goes off, the meeting is over – don’t drag it on and keep another meeting from starting on time.
(Tip: Instead of a timer, some companies place a second conference room display inside the room so attendees can see when the next meeting pops up and it’s time to wrap up.)
5. Use technology effectively.
Technology has changed the way we work and interact with coworkers. Laptops let you take live-time notes so no one has to type them up later. Videoconferencing allows people to participate in the meeting no matter where they are. So be sure that when you book a meeting room it’s equipped with the right presentation equipment. Effectively use these and other advanced meeting tools to increase your meeting productivity.
6. Don’t allow devices to distract you.
Think about yourself in past meetings. If you had your phone or laptop with you, how focused were you on the actual meeting? Our devices easily distract us. If we’re checking emails or perusing Facebook, we might as well not even be in the meeting. To improve meeting productivity, stop multitasking. Focus on the task at hand and if you need your device to capture notes or contribute to the presentation, use it for that and that alone.
7. Be prepared.
Too often attendees feel the time they spent in a meeting wasn’t worth it, which leads to employee frustration and wasted productivity. For a more efficient and effective meeting, allow everyone to be prepared for it. If you’re the meeting organizer, set and send out an agenda. If you’re an attendee, make time to read the agenda beforehand.
8. Hold stand-up meetings.
The longer you stand, the more uncomfortable you get. And the more uncomfortable you and everyone else gets, the quicker you get through your meeting. A recent study also found that “standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes and reduces people’s tendency to defend their turf.”
Besides following these helpful tips, another way to start your meetings off right this year is using the right tools to manage your meetings. At EventBoard, we offer customizable conference room displays, meeting scheduling and other employee meeting tools to help you meet smarter and run more efficient, productive meetings.