Make Meetings Meaningful

in General, Your Business

When you’re a business owner, meetings can be either the most valuable part of your day – or a complete waste of time that keeps you from more important tasks. Well-run meetings provide an opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another, but when they start to feel overwhelming or pointless, it can negatively impact staff morale and reduce productivity.

The solution is to aim for brief meetings that accomplish specific goals. Imagine what your workday would be like if meetings were less frequent and more productive. Try these suggestions for transforming your approach to meetings:

Achieving Less Frequent Meetings

  1. Clear the calendar: Do you attend weekly meetings whose origins are shrouded in mystery? It may be time to reboot your schedule. Review every recurring meeting you have to ensure that it still offers valid reasons for its existence.
  2. Try calls/emails first: We have all experienced times when a meeting should have been an email. It pays to call or email meeting attendees in advance to see if you can accomplish meeting goals before taking the time to gather. You could also try handling the issue on your own or by asking an employee for assistance.
  3. Create meeting-free days: Feel like you’re buried in meetings? Take a day off from the conference room. Some companies have made a commitment to plan at least one day each week without meetings. This gives employees more time for tasks that require fewer distractions.
  4. Opt out: If you’re tactful about it, you may be able to turn down meeting invitations without causing friction. Explain your conflict and propose an alternative like using project management tools or creating your own internal job monitoring materials that allow employees to collaborate online.


Making Each Meeting More Productive

  1. Have an agenda: Keep your meeting on track by circulating an agenda. It will provide a sense of direction and help participants stick to the topic.
  2. Limit attendance: Most experts believe that meetings are more effective when they’re limited to around eight participants. Larger groups often experience more difficulties with communication and decision making.
  3. Shorten planned meeting time: Why schedule an hour-long meeting when 45 minutes will suffice? Having less time encourages greater focus and fewer unrelated conversations.
  4. Finish early: Give your colleagues an incentive to be concise. Make it a habit to end meetings ahead of time when discussion of the topic is completed.
  5. Stand up and move: Try conducting a meeting standing up and/or walking around. Your movement may keep people more focused; you also may find that you think and speak more clearly on your feet.
  6. Ban browsing: Many companies prohibit phones and other devices from meetings. You could also establish a policy that requires muting phones and using devices only for tasks relevant to the meeting.
  7. Upgrade your technology: If you have remote employees or offer flex schedules, use video conference calls and screen sharing applications to keep everyone up to date and accomplish more in less time.
  8. Provide leader training: Consider providing training for employees who conduct meetings. It may help you to build morale and achieve your longer-term meeting goals.

Successful meetings can not only help provide solutions that get full buy in from your team but also strengthen internal relationships. Set a goal with your staff to ensure that your meetings are essential and impactful – they will appreciate it as much as you do!