Have you ever been sitting in a meeting just wondering when anything is actually going to get done? Meetings take up a lot of time in the working day, but quite often people feel that meetings are just a waste of time. There are a number of reasons for this, such as older, stuffier management figures who think meetings are essential even when they’re not, and meetings being held just because it’s the usual scheduled thing rather than the meeting having a specific purpose.
If you’re worried about meetings in your workplace having a vampyric effect on your team’s productivity, then here are some ways you can make meetings more productive and useful.
1. New Rule: No Agenda, No Meeting
One of the first and most important things to do is to try and improve your company’s meeting culture by implementing a new golden rule: where there is no agenda, there shall be no meeting. This is particularly useful in companies where there are a lot of scheduled team and other staff meetings.
Regular meetings will most likely have items to go on an agenda, making them worth continuing. However, there is a good chance that some weeks will come along in which there really isn’t anything important or worthwhile to go on an agenda, and therefore the meeting can be cancelled. In doing this, you’ll avoid pointless and unproductive meetings.
2. Try New Locations
You’ll be amazed what you can find when you type in “meeting space hire Melbourne CBD” into your search engine. This city is awash with terrific spaces, so why not take particularly important meetings to a new location in order to get everyone more energised?
A fresh new location has a particularly marked effect on teams when the meeting involved will include a lot of brainstorming and idea generation. In addition, if the meeting will include some element of professional development, or team members working on specific tasks, then a new location can be just the change of scenery required to spark better collaboration and learning.
3. Get Everyone to Speak Up
One thing that many team members find especially irritating in meetings is when a small number of people take over huge chunks of time in the meeting talking, raising questions, and delivering feedback, all without giving others a chance to contribute. In a meeting room of 15 people where only 3 are speaking, it quickly becomes a tedious affair.
Therefore, those who are leading or conducting a meeting should do everything they can to encourage everyone to speak up and contribute. This gets people thinking more about the meetings in advance. Some may even prepare just so that they’ll have something to say when asked, even if it’s just a suggestion about something fairly everyday. The more people are contributing, the more meaningful and productive the meeting will become.
4. Every Problem Brought Up Must Get an Action Plan
Another common curse of the meeting room is for people to bring up all kinds of problems in company and daily business, but not then offer any kind of solution. This is the sort of meeting that quickly descends into a kind of whining session. To solve this, you should make another golden rule: every suggestion or complaint must be met with a clear plan of action to resolve it.
5. Create a Recap of Action Plans and Responsible Individuals
Following on from point 4, one more way to keep meetings productive and ensure that things said in them get actioned is for someone to take on the job of making minutes of each meeting and creating a summary of the various action plans put forward and who is responsible for making them happen. This way, when the next meeting rolls around, those people mentioned can report on their progress.