Most people try to prioritize the time at work by limiting the number and duration of meetings they attend. However, sometimes the organizational culture, or nature of work, can make back-to-back meetings unavoidable.
To help you make the most of your working hours, here are top five tips to keep your meetings productive, relevant and action-oriented.
1. Make Sure You Are Needed
Sometimes, we say yes to meetings as a knee-jerk response. But just because there is a meeting, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be there. If you can’t skip the meeting entirely, check the agenda. Perhaps you can show up for the first or second half of the meeting when the projects you’re involved in will be discussed.
2. Can the Discussion Take Place Via Email or Phone Call?
Some discussions do not require the entire team at a table. It is refreshing to know you can also have relevant discussions via other mediums. A meeting doesn’t necessarily need to be the default means of working as a team. In fact, sometimes key team members may be able to achieve the same outcomes through an email or phone conversation. If you’re short on time or trying to reduce the number of meetings you need to attend, check if the meetings you have scheduled are actually required.
3. Set an Agenda
Each meeting must have a clearly defined purpose and agenda. You must decide upon the priorities for discussion beforehand. Ensure per-reading and background information is provided in advance. Agree to put topics that can’t be addressed in your time frame for follow-up later.
Focus also on actionable points by prioritizing objectives that can be achieved sooner rather than later. When the conversation begins to digress, gently steer the meeting back to those agreed topics.
4. Set a Time Limit
Setting time limits for meetings can really help you stay on track and focus on the most important priorities. For instance, when you schedule your team meeting for an hour you’re likely to not fully utilize the entire hour because it’s not really required. If you set aside 20 minutes and stick to that time limit you’re far more likely to address the most important issues first, be more productive, and achieve a good result.
5. Prioritize Punctuality
Encourage everyone in the office to get into the habit of being punctual to meetings. If team members wait for five or 10 minutes for colleagues during meetings, the wasted times pile up when they could have been put into other productive efforts. If everyone makes an effort to get to meetings on time, your overall productivity will be much higher.
Remember, if you work in a meeting-heavy environment, it is still possible to get stuff done once you stick to these useful tips.
How do you handle days of endless meetings? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below