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How to Run Meetings That Don’t Waste Your Team’s Time

Why is it that we value productivity in every facet of our businesses, but we waste so much time in meetings?  It’s especially frustrating when you realize that meetings can take up as much as a third of the average manager’s time.

47% of workers say the top time-waster in their workplace is meetings.  In a survey of senior executives, 71% reported their meetings were not productive. Taken in total, estimates suggest that businesses lose $37 billion every day due to ineffective or unproductive meetings.

Make Your Meetings More Productive

Too many businesses hold meetings because they think it’s what you’re supposed to do.  Every meeting should have a specific purpose.  Instead of “meeting to meet,” have a goal for each meeting.

Here are 6 ways to make your meetings more productive:

1. Set a Schedule and Stick to It

Start your meeting on time. If you wait for the stragglers to show up, you’re letting them know it’s OK not to be on time. If they come in late and you’ve already started, it sends an important message.

2. Prepare Ahead of Time

Create an agenda that lays out the specific purpose of the meeting and what you want to accomplish. Send it out before the meeting to attendees. This shows others you are serious about what you’re doing and they should prepare what they need to meet meeting goals ahead of time.

3. Invite the Right People and Have the Right Resources Available

Make sure you’ve invited the people you need to attend. If they need to prepare support material or contribute specific information, let them know in advance. Conversely, if someone doesn’t need to be in the meeting, let them know that it’s a waste of their time.

4. Check Your Tech

If you are using technology such as video conferencing, whiteboards, conference calls, or presentations, make sure you check the technology before the meeting starts. If participants are joining remotely, make sure they check their connections and have the software they need before the meeting starts.

5. Be A Clock Watcher

It’s also important to keep meetings on track. As a facilitator, your job is to keep things moving when discussions get sidetracked.

6. Finish on Time and With Results

You’ve sent an agenda, got the right people in the room, and kept the discussion on track. You’ve got two more things to do: End the meeting on time and make sure you’ve accomplished your goal. If you have accomplished the goals you set out in your agenda, your meeting won’t be a waste of time. Congratulate your team for a job well done and briefly discuss the next steps, make assignments, and schedule the appropriate follow-ups.

If you haven’t completed the task, it’s still important to end on time. bring the discussion to a close and set a date for the follow-up.

Starting on time and finishing on time shows people you respect their time.

Following these six steps will help keep your meetings and track and productive.

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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