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Tips to Conduct Productive Meetings

You came to work determined to stay motivated and finish all your tasks by the end of the day.

Ding!!!

You have received a notification to attend a meeting.

There goes your determination to finish all your work on time.

Have you ever been part of a meeting that drags on and on that you forget the purpose of this meeting? Some many times, right? If the meeting takes 10-15 minutes people will be interested and try to put their ideas on the table. But if the meeting continues for hours and hours, people not only get bored but they may fall behind in the work too. Which does no good for your business.

When you conduct a meeting, your employees should feel that it is something productive. In an organisation, there are so many meetings that an employee becomes part of. Did you know? On average an organisation is spending around 15% of its time on meetings. Numbers show that around the world, every single day around 11 million meetings are conducted and employees attend about 62 meetings in a month.

An average middle-level manager spends more than 30% of their time in meetings. And the shocking fact is that even though people are conducting so many meetings, more than 35% of meetings end up being unproductive.

Infographics show that

more than 30% of people have said that they slept in a meeting,
90% have daydreamed during a meeting,
45% have felt overwhelmed by the number of meetings they have to attend,
And more than 45% of employees feel that meetings are a waste of their time.

But, with all these numbers an important pops up.

Are meetings really a waste of time?

Meetings are highly common in the business environment. People conduct meetings to talk about work-related issues such as project progress, crucial issues, etc. Some organisations conduct meetings monthly, whereas there are organisations that conduct meetings on a daily basis or before starting a new project. Meetings are a way for team leads or business owners to stay at the top all the progress their team is making in terms of work. They can discuss the performance of the last week or month and set their plans for the future be it a day, week, month or year.

Meetings are powerful weapons for businesses to interact with and understand their employees and clients. In a business, Communication through call or text may go downhill as there are so many factors involved such as tone, context, etc. So if you want to avoid miscommunication and convey your message clearly to the other party then meetings are the best. You can interact with them, share your ideas and negotiate with your clients in the meetings. If conducted right they have the power to change the face of your organisation. Businesses enter into agreements with suppliers or clients, so they naturally enter into meetings with them all the time.

With meetings, you can improve work relationships and strengthen your bond with your employees. Keep track of your work and its progress. In meetings, your employees can discuss their ideas and it even makes it easy for the organisation to deliver any updates to all its employees at once. This can also be a perfect moment for the organisation to accomplish the achievements of its employees too. Since in meetings, it is not about one person, everyone attending the meeting share their insights and opinions, so it becomes easy to conclude any big issues. Even though people argue there are high chances that you will conclude.

But, what is the point of all these benefits if you’re not effective in your methods while conducting a meeting. Remember, when you’re calling your employees for a meeting you’re using their time. Respect their time as you’re paying for it. What is the point of conducting a meeting that has no head or tail? You would be wasting employees time and your resources. Often people conduct meetings to just discuss a simple matter that could have been easily sent through the mail. It breaks follow of work for the concerned person and it takes a lot of time to get focused again.

Conducting unproductive meetings is a waste of resources for an organisation. Don’t you agree? Not only resources they do kill productivity and creativity. Every minute your employees engaging in unproductive meetings is loss of opportunity cost for the organisation. Your employees could have invested that time in engaging with new projects.

Wondering, what can you do to conduct productive meetings? Here are a few tips that will assist you in conducting productive meetings.

Is meeting really necessary?

First things first question yourself is this meeting really necessary. Most of the times, people end up conducting meetings for simple issues that could be resolved with a simple email. The meeting is not a get together between you and your employees. It doesn’t make any sense to call all your employees together just because it has been a long time. Don’t you agree? So it is important to determine a clear reason for conducting a meeting. If you don’t have a clear purpose then it is a waste of time for your employees and you both. Before planning to conduct a meeting, take your time and if you feel this matter can’t be discussed with a simple email or notice then conduct the meeting.

Agenda & Purpose

Since you’re taking time out of you and your employee schedule make sure to use it wisely. So to not waste anybody’s time it is highly useful for you to create an agenda and work accordingly. Include all the things you would want to discuss in the meeting. This is the perfect way for you to remember all the important things that you want to discuss. If you go without preparing there are high chances of you forgetting half the matters. Since time is money, if you go plan, you would not waste more time than required. This way your employee’s work will not be wasted and they feel that you value their time. If you have your agenda prepared before meeting you can know exactly how much time do you need. It will also give your employees an idea of what to expect for this meeting.

Respect time

Consider including both start and end timings of a meeting on your agenda. Why? You’re wondering. Nobody is free at work, all of them are busy with their tasks. If you’re asking for people to attend the meeting then you must respect their time. Adding the start and end time is not an exception. If your employees are coming late for the meeting then you would lose your time, right? So make sure that your employees are right on time for the meeting. Plan a meeting lasts not more than 30 to 45 minutes as the interest starts to vary after that.

Include people only needed

You don’t have to call everybody in the office for the meeting that would waste the time of people who’re not necessary for that particular meeting. So, why not, only call people who are important for that particular discussion. Once those people attend the meeting, be inclusive and give equal importance to all their ideas. Make sure you have some one-note down the minutes of the meeting. It will give you an idea of what you have missed in the meeting and how you can improve your meetings next time. Avoid meeting in calls because it becomes easy for people to turn you off. If you want the attention of your people then prefer face-to-face meeting over others.

Modernise your meetings

Who told that you’re meeting should be conducted behind four walls? It’s time you ditch the old skin. If you conduct your meetings outside, it is highly motivating and provides your employees with a change. Sitting between four walls can get suffocating for your employees. So they repulse from the idea of attending a meeting. So this time why don’t you conduct your meeting outside a room anywhere in your office such as garden, cafeteria etc. This will provide your employees with a new perspective and help them in coming up with better ideas.

While you’re dealing with so many people, there is no rule that each one will be comfortable with each other. Be the ice-breaker and keep the conversation following. Meetings don’t always have to be serious they can be fun and inspiring at the same time. See that you set a timer and discuss the issues and come up with a solution by the end of the time. Unplug your laptops and see what your employees are manually recording all the important details. As you can see all your employees are stuck with their laptops all day. So why not give them a break. Plan your meeting between greens, it is both peaceful and lively for your workforce.

Conclusion

Nobody is stopping you from conducting meetings, but see that you utilise both you and your employees time effectively. Lead your workforce with purpose. You may think spending time on a meeting is not wasting time in any way, but if you’re spending your time in a meeting with no purpose and conclusion then you’re wasting the time of both you and your employees. Conducting a productive meeting is in your hands. All you have to do is these little changes to your existing meeting routine and you’re good to go. Implement these tips and be part of a productive meeting and take your organisation towards growth.

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