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Being able to run productive company meetings means you’ll spend less time in meetings and get more out of them. Here are four quick ways you can improve your meeting productivity.
Do Unproductive Company Meetings Dominate Your Day?
Company meetings fill an important role. They allow management, stakeholders, and employees to get together and discuss progress and assign responsibilities. Meetings give everyone involved a chance to discuss happenings and developments at the company. They can be full staff meetings, or they can focus on a specific department or project group.
Often, however, meetings can get in the way of actual work, especially if they’re overused or abused. Being able to run productive company meetings means you’ll spend less time in meetings and get more out of them. Here are four quick ways you can improve your meeting productivity.
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1. Simply Have Fewer Meetings
The first and most obvious strategy for more productive company meetings is to carefully consider the purpose of each meeting before you call it. Sometimes, for example, you can include several topics in a single company meeting. In these cases, be sure to develop a well-structured agenda ahead of the meeting. This can minimize the amount of unproductive meeting time filled with small talk.
However, if you’re having a tough time convincing your staff that fewer meetings are a good idea, consider using a tool to calculate the actual cost of a meeting. This could be an eye-opener for those who foot the staffing bills. Then, whenever someone suggests a company meeting, remind them of the need for productivity and get clear with them about the purpose of the meeting.
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2. Aim for More Engagement
Restrict company meetings only to those who need to be there and everyone will be more productive. If you plan meetings with long lists of attendees, remember those meetings will require more time.
This happens for a number or reasons. For example, side conversations frequently break off from the main discussion in large meetings. Additionally, everyone needs to have a say around each discussion point. However, if something comes up that isn’t relevant to the meeting topic, steer the meeting back on course. Then schedule a separate meeting to address the new topic at another time.
Larger meetings conceal another danger as well. The term “social loafer” refers to those who contribute less in a group when they have no clear direction or defined role. Social loafers tend to blend in and exert less effort when they’re part of a bigger meeting or team.
3. Embrace Quick Productive Get-Togethers Instead of Full Company Meetings
The quick get-together could take the form of a ten-minute morning team talk. This is a practice in the construction industry where such meetings are known as “toolbox talks.” However, other industries can apply the same format to smaller, less formal meetings.
These informal but important meetings set a tone and direction for the day without all the procedural routines of a sit-down organized meeting. They make for a better use of everyone’s time because everyone remains standing. Therefore, they’re brief and to the point. Everyone understands they need to get through their discussion points quickly and people are more concise. Idle small talk is almost nonexistent.
4. Ban Devices from Company Meetings
In most companies, the number-one killer of productivity in meetings is devices. If meeting attendees are distracted and unable to focus because they have half an eye on their phone or laptop, they won’t be giving their full attention to the discussions at hand. Consequently, the meeting will drag on.
Company meetings will be more productive if you ban laptops, tablets, phones and any other devices. Insist that attendees bring only a pen and notepad to meetings. This way they can still take notes, but they will be less distracted and better able to focus on the meeting.
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Use These Tips for More Productive Company Meetings
Meetings are a necessary evil in business, but that doesn’t mean you should be falling into the trap of bloated and unproductive company meetings. Use these strategies to get as much as you can from your business meetings.