Does anyone really like meetings anymore? I think we’re all meeting and Zoom fatigued by now. If you ask anyone randomly they will probably laugh and say no. There are ongoing jokes about the uselessness of meetings and how meetings are created just to make people feel busy. Some businesses have meetings to discuss meetings. It’s crazy.
Having said that, if you really want to have useful and productive meetings, here are ten steps to help you and your team be more focused and productive.
1. Have a Purpose – If you don’t have a singular purpose for a meeting, you shouldn’t need to have one. You should be able to state in five to eight words exactly why you are planning a meeting. If you can’t, reconsider.
2. Write an Agenda – Based on your purpose statement, write a meeting agenda. Micromanage each moment of the meeting in terms of who will speak, what they’ll speak about, and how long they have to do it.
3. Set a Time Limit – Meetings do not have to be long to be productive. Some companies have a standard 15-minute meeting rule. It’s used to simply report on what each person has done or needs to do to meet a goal, and to assign new work.
4. Ban Electronics – In today’s day and age, that might seem a little strange. But the truth is, multitasking at meetings is very counterproductive. Tell those who are invited to the meeting not to bring phones or electronic devices that won’t help them be productive. This will make everything move smoother because no one will be distracted.
5. Assign Tasks – Make someone responsible by directly assigning tasks to persons who can either be responsible for the people doing the work, or do the tasks themselves. By having a person of responsibility, you can avoid passing the buck and making everything your job. Delegation before, during and after meetings is essential to increase productivity.
6. Keep the Size Small – Only invite the people to the meeting that will have something to do. There is no point in having anyone at a meeting or part of a meeting if they aren’t going to leave with something to do. For instance, if you have a project manager, invite her, but there is no reason to invite the people she manages.
7. Start and End on Time – Set a start time and an end time, and stick to it.
8. Give Each Person Input Time – Anyone coming to the meeting should have been given an assignment of what to talk about at the meeting, and they should be given time to talk. Sometimes one or two people will take over a meeting and the others do not get a chance to give input. Make sure that each person gets an opportunity.
9. Record the Meeting & Have The Notes Transcribed - This way no one has to be distracted trying to remember all their tasks or information and can be focused on the call. After the recording has been transcribed, email a copy to your team.
10. Follow Up – After a meeting is over, it’s important to check up on anyone who was given tasks to do, but also to drop everyone who attended an email with the meeting minutes (as mentioned above) as well as an opportunity to edit the record. In this way you can ensure that everyone who attended is on the same page.
Meetings are necessary for a business with more than one person (even if you only have contractors), to move forward and get things done. By having meetings that address a specific purpose, assigning responsibility to the right people and having frequent follow-ups, you’ll find that all your meetings are more productive.
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