A meeting request pops up in your calendar. “Oh great, another meeting,” you think to yourself as you drag yourself to the boardroom.
People can often feel like work meetings are a waste of time, with colleagues talking in circles and repeating the same facts as previous weeks. What is the secret behind conducting a productive meeting every time? Here are some tips to boost the productivity of your meetings.
Develop a meeting agenda
If you are the one who has called for the meeting, make sure you lay out an agenda of what needs to be covered. This will give the attendees an opportunity to prepare ahead of time for the meeting, which will likely result in higher productivity.
A meeting agenda can be as detailed or to the point as you want, but try to include times for each discussion point you will cover within this meeting. That way you hold yourself accountable to stay on time, and accomplish everything on the list before the meeting is over.
Don’t show up for a meeting empty handed. Take a look at the meeting agenda and find out what is required of you to bring to the meeting. Bring any information that people may ask you to provide from your department. Also, if you have questions for other attendees in the meeting that you want answered; bring those along with you too.
Coming prepared to a meeting will help boost the overall productivity of the meeting for everyone, and decreases the amount of action items for after the meeting, if people are expecting you to follow up with the answers to their questions.
Stay on task
Without an agenda or a mediator, a meeting can spiral off task pretty quickly. When this happens, often attendees will leave the meeting with many unanswered questions, which often leads to a second meeting having to be scheduled.
Assign one person to be the moderator of the meeting – they will be responsible for watching the clock and ensuring the team follows the agenda. As each topic on the agenda is discussed and answered, they will be responsible for checking them off the list.
What are the next steps that will need to take place after the meeting? End every meeting with an action plan.
This may include doing additional research, finding the answers to questions that you were unable to answer in the meeting, or establishing how the team will proceed with a project. Create these action items and make sure that everyone in the meeting knows who is responsible and when these need to be completed by.
At the end of the meeting, the moderator hosting the meeting should follow up with all attendees with the “meeting minutes,” or key takeaways.
Putting together this written document is a great way to wrap up what was discussed – once again, lay out key action items and due dates, plus a good document to have on file in case you need to refer back to a meeting weeks or months later. Consider emailing these meeting minutes to all the attendees so they have it documented and available as a refresher.