Ingredients for a productive meeting.
Every year unproductive meetings cost more than $37 billion to business firms in the US alone. Virtual meetings being the most relevant and cost-effective method of communication, are also, unfortunately, the least productive. (Read: How you can boost connectivity in your organisation through this simple hack)
Wasting excessive time on, going off the agenda and distracted employees are a few things that can make your meetings go completely unproductive. Here are 5 simple ways in which you can ensure that your meetings are productive-
1. Is the meeting really necessary?
Meetings should be held if and only it is the only form of group communication that will suffice the purpose. Meetings should come after alternative means like- text communication, emails or subordination do not solve the objective of the given task. It is important to realise that even though meetings might seem to be very productive, but a meeting without a purpose is as useless as a coffee mug without coffee. Which brings us to the next point.
2. Fix Meeting Agendas before-hand
For meetings to have minimum wastage of time, specific pre-defined points for the agenda must be followed. There should be complete and absolute clarity about the purpose and the goal that the meeting aims to achieve. All the attendees should be familiar with the decided agenda of the meeting. Further, it should be ensured that all attendees also make bullet points about what their contribution would be. This would make the meeting smooth and fruitful.
3. Keep checking the progress.
Once you’ve started with it, make sure that the meeting is always headed in the right direction. One person can be made responsible for noting down all the important ideas, points and suggestions discussed through the course of the meeting. This helps in two ways-
a) No important ideas/points/suggestions made during the meeting are lost. b) Gives a sense of direction and minimises any deviations from the decides agendas.
4. Punctuality through-out
49% of Bad meetings are a result of either people arriving late or leaving early. The most important tip to make sure no time wasted in meetings is to make sure that you always begin and end on the decided time. It is a proven fact that shorter meetings are usually more productive. The best way to ensure punctuality is to make an issue-wise time limit, wherein each problem/topic to be discussed is given a stipulated time to be wrapped up.
5. No distractions
According to the Stats by Atlassian.com, during meetings- – 91% of employees daydreamed – 39% of employees slept – 73% of employees did other work Attendees being distracted can single-handedly turn a meeting into an unproductive mess. One way is to ban all distractions like phone, iPods and laptops from the place of meetings so that the attendees’ undivided attention goes towards the meeting. Another way is a less forceful way to make all meeting engaging and interactive for all the attendees so that they are always a part of the discussion. Certain tools like- random questions, idea dropboxes, suggestion exchanges can be used to make a meeting more engaging. For virtual meetings, Video Calls reduce the distractions of a meeting way more than a telephonic/audio meeting. Video calls add a visual element to meetings which make them more personal and engaging as compared to mundane and dry audio calls.
Meetings are a great productivity tool for maintaining a healthy flow of connectivity and communication in the organisation. However, the productivity of a meeting entirely depends on how we use it. With these techniques and ingredients, you can ensure that you make each and every of your meeting fruitful.