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Getting the Most Out of Business Meetings

Company meetings - every business has them. They’re a necessary evil. But while they’re impossible to avoid, meetings can also be incredible productivity killers and, well, enormous wastes of time. So how can you ensure that your meetings get the message delivered and accomplish your goals in an efficient and timely manner? Here are a few simple tips to get you on the right track.

First, determine whether a meeting is truly needed in the first place. If all you want to do is inform your team of a new policy or make an announcement, consider posting the information on your company blog or simply sending out an old-fashioned memo. You’ll save time and your employees will appreciate not having to sit through another pointless gathering.

If you do deem a meeting necessary, develop a clear agenda ahead of time and keep it limited and focused. It can be tempting to cram as much stuff as you can into the limited time you’ve managed to get everyone together, but if you overload attendees with information they’ll just end up confused and disorganized, which completely defeats the purpose. Pick one theme or topic and stick to it so the meeting is focused and succinct. And, speaking of succinct - try to always limit meeting times to less than an hour unless you want your audience to be staring back at you with that glazed-over look.

Next, be realistic about the amount and frequency with which you hold meetings. Honestly, couldn’t that weekly meeting be covered in bi-weekly or even monthly get-togethers? Holding too many meetings can interrupt your team and interfere with their day to day productivity, so keep them as infrequent as possible to make them more effective. Also, only include those people who truly need to be in attendance and send out a group memo that recaps what was covered if need be.

Utilize as many tools as you have at your disposal to make meetings more efficient and convenient for everyone involved. For instance, rather than requiring all of your employees to adjust their schedules and be on-site on a particular date and time, try hosting a web meeting over the internet or use the group calling feature of your phone system to let everyone dial in and attend from wherever they are.

Finally, be creative. Meetings are useless if you can’t engage your audience. Try to think of new and exciting ways to get their attention and encourage them to participate. There are a number of resources available with some excellent tools and ideas, like the book called The Culture Game, which offers tips on how to take the learning and productivity of your organization to the next level.

Once you shave away all the frills and eliminate the unnecessary things that are dragging your meetings down, you’ll be able to stay focused and productive and truly get the most out of your business pow-wows.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 4:17 PM