Meetings are held to exchange ideas, develop and enact business strategies, and communicate the inner workings of your organization to the relevant parties—yet according to a survey performed by salary.com, nearly half of employees say meetings are a waste of time. If you’re looking for ways to improve your meetings, raise enthusiasm among the ranks, and maximize time spent around the table, look no further; here are seven tips to help make your meetings more productive, efficient and memorable.
1. Start at the bottom. It has long been common practice to structure meetings with more trivial items at the beginning to ease into the decision-making process and allow time for late arrivals. By reversing your strategy and leading with the most important items you can instantly engage your audience and send a clear signal that being late means being left out.
2. Stick to the agenda. Set clear parameters about the purpose of your meeting by outlining and following a detailed agenda.
3. Bide your time. When possible, use time to your advantage, opting to avoid Monday morning meetings when employees are likely to be tired, distracted and unprepared. Clearly define the start and end time so attendees can plan their day accordingly and don’t wait for latecomers.
4. Plan ahead. Send out the agenda in advance to ensure employees have time to review and prepare for the meeting.
5. Get moving. Periodically switching seats, or having participants stand for the duration of the meeting can increase alertness and efficiency.
6. Be selective. Limit attendance to those who are relevant to the agenda rather than including all.
7. Follow up. Send out minutes of the meeting within 24 hours and recap your plan of attack, stating who is responsible for each action item and the due dates. This step helps to keep team members accountable, while informing those who are unclear about details or were unable to attend the meeting.
Successful meetings are the result of strategic planning and can lead to increased awareness, productivity and profits.