Meetings are typically nobody’s favorite part of the work day. Whether to update statuses, share information, collaborate, make decisions, build up your team, solve problems or innovate, meetings have a way of throwing an unwelcome wrench in an employee’s daily productivity.
Add to that the fact that some employers call way too many meetings for way to many things, and you’re looking at meeting-burned employees who squirm at the thought of yet another session. In fact, according to the National Statistics Council, “37% of employee time is spent in meetings, and 47% of employees consider too many meetings to be the biggest waste of time during the day–more than social media or email.”
If you want to engage your team and make your meetings more productive in less time, you may need to rethink everything you thought you knew about meetings. And we’ve got just the solution to your meeting challenges.
Tap these tips to make your meetings more engaging and productive.
Define a clear purpose and end goal
Pointless meetings are just that. Without a clear goal, they can circle on and on and never actually accomplish anything. Set your goal ahead of time to keep yourself on track and to give you employees a sense of purpose at your next meeting.
Use technology to encourage participation
Recording meetings or recapping in an email after the fact can help drive points home long after the meeting is through. See, even the best note-takers are bound to miss an important point or two while writing. Knowing there will be a follow-up recording enables them to listen more during the meeting, process what’s being said, and participate.
Create a meeting agenda to share ahead of time
Knowing the purpose of your meeting is only part of the process of having a great session. Sharing the talking points with your team ahead of time will help the meeting not only stay on topic (and on time) but help others start thinking about what they want to bring up in regards to the topics at hand. Remember, when it comes to great meetings, you (or the presenters) aren’t the only one who needs to prep for success.
Make sure your equipment works
Faulty tech equipment can cause a meeting that could be successful and engaging to quickly plummet and lose the interest of all. Nobody has time to sit around waiting for computer reboots, software installations, etc. Make sure that all your equipment is working properly beforehand, and allow enough time in the setup to login or open programs before the team arrives.
Invite your team to participate
There’s no bigger snooze-factor in a meeting than someone who drones on and one without regard for questions or collaborative comments that may be forming within the team. Give everyone a chance to participate (or even better, encourage them to do so). Depending on the type of meeting, you might find it helpful to break people out into discussion groups, or invite questions. Another great way to get people invested in your meeting is to have your team contribute to the meeting agenda with issues and topics they want to discuss.
Keep the meeting to the designated time (and keep it short!)
If meetings are a regular part of your office, make sure to stay timely with them and keep them as short as possible to get the job done and allow everyone to get back to their regular work. If your team knows that meetings will be kept timely and to the point, they may start to dread them less and less and share their ideas more and more. Time of day and length of meeting can have a big impact on how engaged or interested your team will be, so try out a few different times and see what works best for your team. Setting meetings for the end of the day on a Friday and letting your team know they can leave as soon as the meeting ends can be a great way to encourage engagement and get ideas flowing faster.
What are you waiting for? Go have a great meeting!