Do you ever wish you could be anywhere other than a meeting? Are meetings often a huge waste of your time? Instead of losing productivity, take action to make your meetings more productive. For example, recording a meeting can help if you can't remember certain details that were discussed.
Check out these six tips for making meetings worthwhile instead of worthless:
1. Make Sure You Really Need a Meeting
Have you ever been to a meeting about something that could have easily been resolved over email? Meetings are best when a group needs to brainstorm, collaborate, or build a relationship. Before you set up the meeting invite, ask yourself what the desired outcome is and whether this would best be accomplished at a meeting. For team meetings or meetings that are mainly status updates, consider using a collaboration tool or email to reduce the time spent in a conference room.
2. Create an Agenda with Approximate Times
Once you know what you want to accomplish, the next step is to know exactly what you need to talk about to reach your goal. Create a detailed agenda and have any key people review it before you send it out. To help keep the meeting on schedule, add approximate times for meeting items. This way, the leader can point to the agenda and get the group to move onto the next topic.
3. Invite the Right Players
Meetings are expensive in terms of productivity. Every minute spent in meetings means a customer isn't being assisted or a project isn't being completed. Make sure you are only inviting people who need to be there to reach your desired outcome. In addition, make sure you don't leave someone off the meeting list who needs to be present to help you reach your goal.
4. Record the Meeting
No meeting is perfect. Either someone can't attend, or no one can remember a final decision that was made once the meeting is over. By using a conference line for all meetings and recording a meeting as a best practice, everyone knows exactly what happened. Often, the mere fact of knowing they are being recorded can often keep everyone on their best behavior. Before long, recording a meeting will be a standard practice in your office.
5. Have an Idea Parking Lot
Sometimes, great ideas come up during a meeting, but they aren't directly related to the topic at hand. Or, someone starts going off on a tangent and you need to get back on track, but you want to kick that idea around at a later time. Here, you can use a parking lot, which is when someone jots down the idea on paper and parks it somewhere until it's ready to be revisited. When you have a parking lot, you can table an idea and be assured it won't be lost, and the person who won't stop talking can feel heard without keeping everyone trapped over lunch.
6. Empower the Leader to Take Control
Speaking of people who like to hear their own voices, it's important to designate a leader for every meeting and grant this person the power to politely interrupt someone, mediate a disagreement heading out of control, or move the meeting to the next item. Having a skilled meeting leader can increase productivity, and it can be the difference between holding an effective meeting and everyone feeling as if they wasted their time.
So, instead of zoning out in meetings or pretending to take notes while doodling, take a proactive approach. With a little bit of effort and planning, your meetings can be something your staff looks forward to instead of dreads.
Are you ready to make your meetings work for you? Contact a Vonage Business representative to take the next step forward.