With tools like electronic calendars and e-communication resources, we should be holding more productive meetings. However, is this technology making it too convenient to meet, thus hindering any productivity gains?
“47% of employees surveyed said that meetings are the biggest waste of time." - salary.com
According to a recent salary.com survey, 47 percent of respondents consider meetings to be the biggest productivity drainer at work. Fortunately, you can use the following best practices to improve your meetings and maximize productivity:
Lead with the desired outcomes.
Traditionally, a meeting begins by sharing some background and finishes by discussing desired outcomes. However, by the time the desired outcomes are being discussed, you've typically lost the undivided attention of your audience. Instead, flip your agenda and begin by discussing the desired outcomes to be sure that this critical part of your meeting is heard loud and clear.
Prepare an agenda.
To keep your meeting on task and ensure that you cover all of the necessary topics, create an agenda for your meeting and email it to attendees prior to the meeting. Be sure to request information and perspectives for each item on the agenda.
Recap key takeaways and identified actions / responsibilities.
After the meeting, send out an email that recaps the key takeaways discussed in the meeting and the actions that need to be taken by specific individuals. Include due dates for each action to create accountability and track your progress over time.
Include only those that need to be present at the meeting.
Your employees are constantly in and out of meetings throughout the day. To maximize productivity in the workplace, only invite those that need to be there to attend. Send an email updating others that may need to know what the meeting was about but didn’t need to attend.
Try having participants stand instead of sitting.
Studies show that stand-up meetings are more productive and are completed 25 percent faster than traditional sit-down meetings. When attendees are standing, they're inclined to arrive at a decision 34 percent sooner!
Build time into your agenda for debriefing.
Reserve the last 5 to 10 minutes of your meeting to debrief key takeaways, action items and next steps you want the participants to take. This will help support engagement and better results from your meetings.
Set timeframes and stick to them.
Instead of taking up a full hour, plan for your meeting to last no longer than 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Too often meetings run late and this impacts productivity.
Try just one or more of these best practices to improve employee engagement and achieve your desired business outcomes from valuable meeting time spent with your team. Even minor adjustments can make a big difference right away!