They have estimated the amount of time wasted in meetings to be a staggering 15-25% of a person’s work time.  I am not talking meeting time but rather “wasted” meeting time.  This is the time when a meeting doesn’t start on time so you just sit, or side conversations during a meeting or simply unproductive meetings.

People stop coming to meetings when they feel there is no value to them. So if you want people to attend your meetings we need to start with how to  make your meetings more productive.

Making Meetings Productive

1. Start with a clear goal in mind.  What is the meeting for?  It should never be about a status update.  It should be about what a status update will do for you.  For example, your meeting might be about how to mitigate any disasters and make sure the new software deploys on 9/1 without a problem.

2. Prioritize what needs to be discussed so that most important things are given the first time in the meeting.

3. Start on time and end on time.  If you end early that is a bonus.

4. Ask people to turn off cell phones during the meeting and keep your meeting to 3o-60 minutes if possible.  It has been proven that when the brain works on two cognitive tasks at one time you have a 50% chance of error!  That means if people are reading and responding to emails or texts during your meeting the chance your group will make an error in decision-making just dramatically went up.

5. If they can read it, don’t put it on the agenda.  People can read things on their own so don’t use valuable meeting time for that.

6. Make people keep their conversations brief and to the point.  There are always a few people that like “air” time.  Make sure you state ahead of time what the goal is of the meeting and how you will keep moving the agenda forward so you don’t get clogged by one person taking up too much time.

Take Action:  Look at your next meeting- state a clear goal so people know why they are attending, prioritize the key discussion points and stick to the start and end time.

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