Meetings are a staple in organisations, regardless of their age and size. In fact, rarely a week goes by without executives and employees gathering to discuss company matters.
According to a report from Fuze, middle managers spend 35% of their time attending meetings. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Doodle showed that professionals from the UK spend the most time in meetings. At least 30% of British respondents in the study claimed that they spend at least five hours a week on meetings.
Clearly, a considerable percentage of work hours are spent on these meetings. Ideally, this should not be an issue given that these gatherings are supposed to help organisations progress. They also serve as tools for people to collaborate, discuss ideas, resolve issues and build stronger ties.
However, many employees aren’t too happy about joining meetings. They think that these are time wasters. In a Harvard Business Review survey, 71% of the respondents said that meetings are unproductive and are hindrances to them finishing their tasks.
Why is this the case? It is mainly because most meetings are poorly organised and run – often with no clear agenda, absence of structure and no time limits. As a result, employees become exasperated and organisations lose money. Fuze shared an infographic showing that ineffective meetings are costing companies $37 billion annually.
Despite these shocking facts, scrapping company meetings may be unrealistic. After all, employees still need to come together and discuss pertinent matters. Furthermore, there are things you can do to hold productive meetings.
5 tips to increase the productivity of your meetings:
Determine If There Is a Need to Meet
There is this notion that the only way to discuss a topic is by holding a meeting. This is not always true as certain matters can be tackled via short informal conversations or through emails. For example, there is no need to hold meetings just to talk about updates or to disseminate information. You can use email for these things.
Distribute the Agenda Early
Attendees must have a copy of the agenda days or hours before the meeting. This lets the participants know what to expect and enables them to prepare for it as well.
Ideally, the agenda should contain the objectives of the gathering, topics to be covered, minutes allotted for each topic and what are required from the attendees amongst others. It is highly recommended that topics are stated in a question format for clarity.
Technology can help you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your meetings. For example, one of the challenges encountered when setting up a meeting is scheduling. Nowadays, there are apps and software which can make finding a mutually convenient time less taxing for meeting participants.
One powerful collaboration tool which can help you organise productive meetings is Microsoft Teams, a key part of the Office 365 suite. It’s capabilities – calling, messaging, video conferencing and file sharing – allow you to engage in seamless virtual meetings. Its advanced features guarantee a high-quality meeting experience for all attendees.
Keep It Short
Ideally, meetings should not exceed an hour. Remember, most people have a short attention span. The longer the meeting drags on, the more disengaged the participants will be.
So, stick to the schedule. See to it that topics are discussed within the allotted time. When there are sticking points, set another time to resolve them.
Invite Essential People Only
After setting the agenda, identify the people who need to be present in the meeting. These are the people who can contribute something meaningful and relevant to the discussion.
By determining who the key participants are, you avoid inviting people who do not really need to be in the meeting. As a result, these individuals do not have to worry about wasted time. More importantly, they can do work that really matters.
When done properly, meetings can improve team synergy and inspire valuable insights which can help your organisation succeed. Keep in mind, optimising meetings is tantamount to ensuring better workplace productivity and saving on operating costs.
Do you need software solutions to help you have productive meetings? Talk to our sales specialist and learn which of our wide range of products will help you. Call us on 0818 987 900 today!