Lisa (Dean) Mamula

Managing Better Meetings

mtMeetings are often seen by as somewhere between pure torture and a necessary evil. But ran correctly, meetings/conference calls are an invaluable way for your team to bring each other up-to-speed and gain valuable input. But how, in an age where one out of four (see accompanying blog) consider meetings and conference calls the biggest waste of time in their work? Here are a few tips that work for my team and me.

Time (of Day) Matters
Employees report that their most productive work time is between 9 am and 11 am. So whatever you do, try and avoid those peak productivity hours. Setting meetings during these hours is not only a productivity hit, but you’re likely to encounter greater resentment towards your meeting when removing employees from their peak productivity hours.

Time (Duration) Matters
While strategy sessions require more time, make sure regular staff meetings and calls are limited to 30 minutes. Time restraints force everyone to stay organized and focused.

Agenda
If you don’t have one, don’t have a meeting. Make sure everyone who is attending your meeting knows in advance what you are doing and what they need to bring to be a productive participant.

Attendees
Reassess your meeting attendee lists. Google has a 10-person limit for meetings. Even that seems high. Each and every person should have a specific role and contribution to the meeting or you may be wasting their time. Just in case, record the meetings and if they need to hear them they can listen to them instead of episode 432 of the Nerdist podcast.

Limit Distractions
If your meetings are quick, efficient and focused you may actually be able to keep people off their email and smartphones. If you keep people engaged, you might even be able to implement a policy where attendees silence their phones and stow them away during meetings.

Assign Responsibility
Don’t leave the meeting saying that “we” need to do this or that. “We” is not a person – document tasks and assign them to an actual employee.

At the end of the day, meetings may never be the favorite part of your employees job – but if you follow some basics and show your attendees respect with short, efficient meetings… perhaps they won’t be seen as a waste of time.

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