If you’re spending more of your work day in meetings than doing actual work, you’re not alone.  Face-to-face meetings, phone meetings and web meetings can consume your day, leaving you with little time to get your job done.  These Quick Tips for More Productive Meetings can help you make the most of your work day.

When I provide Productivity Consulting to organizations, a concern that often comes up is “How do we reduce meetings and make them more efficient?”

The first step in fixing the “too many meetings” problem is determining which meetings absolutely require your attendance.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your attendance mandatory? (i.e. Your boss is making you go.)
  • Does the agenda directly impact your tasks, projects or job role?
  • Does your presence directly impact a colleague’s tasks, projects or job role?
  • Can you only get the information presented by attending the meeting?

If you answered no to most of these questions, it’s time to clear your calendar and get some real work done.  If you answered yes, check out these Quick Tips for More Productive Meetings to help you get the most of your time away from your desk.

1.  Don’t run from meeting to meeting.  Add an extra 5 minutes on your personal schedule before each meeting to review notes and prepare questions.

2.  On that same note, add an extra 5 minutes after each meeting to summarize decisions, update task lists and organize notes.

3.  Set an example.  If you’re the meeting organizer, keep the meeting as short as possible and stay on task.

4.  Consider the attention span of others.  15 minute standup meetings can be very efficient.  Not everyone can stay focused for an hour.

On Interaction…

5.  If the meeting is longer than 30 minutes, make sure it’s interactive.  Engage with purpose, and not just for the sake of interaction.

6.  Make it meaningful.  Icebreakers: love them or hate them, they take up time.  Are they necessary for this meeting, or just a time-filler? Quick introductions or even name tags might be more appropriate.

7.  If the meeting is longer than an hour, incorporate interaction that requires physical movement.  There’s nothing wrong with taking 1-2 minutes to stand up and switch seats just for the purpose of movement.  It can be a refreshing attention saver.

8. Test your attendees.  Ask questions.  Call on people at random.  It’s great way to measure the productivity of your meeting.  If no one is getting anything out of the meeting, there’s probably a better way to deliver the message.

If you still can’t find the time in your work day to work, contact us at CTC Productivity.  I can present to your group in person or via tele-class on various subjects including Time Management, Office Organization and Productive Meetings.  This might just be the meeting your organization needs to stop the madness of meetings.




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