Meetings are among the most dreaded parts of any work environment, as the average person can spend 23 hours a week in meetings over the course of their lives—nearly 15% of an employee’s precious time. And while often perceived as a necessary evil in the operations of any business or enterprise, meetings are more likely to hamper productivity than they are to promote it.
Meetings do not have to be this bad. A meeting, executed correctly, should disseminate a company’s strategies and create an environment conducive for the exchange of ideas. But how can you make your meetings more effective?
In this article, we are going to talk about the strategies you can employ to improve experiences in meetings, and maybe even turn them into something to look forward to.
1. Plan them in advance
Every meeting should have an agenda in advance, which should then be made public to its participants and everyone else possibly involved. The agenda should meet the following general goals:
- Get valuable input from the attendees
- Pass on important information
- Seek for approval on certain issues
Outside of this, the more important and concrete goals of a meeting should be outlined. And if it is possible to set time frames for certain discussions, do so. The more structured and specific the agenda is, the more likely the meeting is to be efficient and effective at enacting these aforementioned goals.
2. Find out what the meeting is costing you
One of the things that irks many employees is that many of these meetings can actually be summarized in emails, especially if there was nothing in the agenda but an announcement. As the senior staff in a company or business, it is your responsibility to know how much of your resources are being taken away in long, drawn-out meetings.
The best way to concretize this value is to actually compute it. Gather the hourly rate of every attendee’s salary, the cost of the venue per hour, the cost of whatever materials like food and tea are distributed to the attendees. Add all these up, and multiply it by the number of hours spent in the meeting.
This sum is how much you are paying to have this meeting. If the number is astoundingly high, then you definitely want to consider making these meetings shorter and more efficient.
3. Establish clear rules and roles
One of the reasons meetings tend to run long is because of how long-winded certain discussions can become. Whether this is because there is an unclear set of boundaries on the discussion, or the attendees tend to veer off-topic, this must be addressed.
Having rules for allowing people to speak uninterrupted until they are finished is one good way to make sure discussions move smoothly. Setting time limits on discussions is also a good way to make sure only the important aspects are discussed. Whatever the case may be, think about all the things bogging down the progress of your meeting and try to create rules that help avoid these pitfalls.
Meetings are necessary, but they don’t have to be a necessary evil. With the right rules and structure, meetings can be efficient, communicative, and conducive to cooperation. And with time and some fine-tuning, they can even be exciting, positive experiences for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for a concrete way to manage your meetings, why not give us at Thena a try? We have tools designed specifically for creating and improving efficiency in businesses and companies of all sizes.