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5 Ways To Make Your Next Meeting More Productive

Meetings, we’ve all got them, and most of them feel like a waste of time.  

People show up late or not at all.  They “multi-task” or don’t have any of their promised work completed, they spend 10 minutes telling everyone that they are too busy to get anything done.  Then there is that guy, you now him, his dog is always barking.  

Remote work has brought a lot of advantages, but remote meetings aren’t one of them. 

5 Ways To Make Your Next Meeting More Productive

Here are 5 ways to make your next meeting more productive.

1. Have an agenda

When there is a clear purpose to the meeting it’s a lot easier to get in and out without feeling like everyone is wasting their time.  Share the agenda in advance of the meeting, adding it in the invitation is a great place to share the info with your team. Keep it short and simple.

2. Stick to the agenda

The first few minutes of a meeting often seem devoted to the personal catch up.  For some people this is a necessity. These are the people that want to tell you all about their weekend, their kids ballgame or the concert they went to.  It’s part of their process.  Best to budget in the time and let them share (briefly) otherwise they’ll be distracted all during your meeting.

3. Create items that can be actioned

Meetings, in general, are not places to problem solve. Whenever someone begins to launch into a story that may or may not lead to a question stop the story and suggest a separate meeting with just the required people.  Set a date for that working session and move onto the next item.

One of the biggest things people want out of an interaction is a concrete action step to take, give them that. This allows them to know that their efforts are part of a larger picture with the comfort of knowing they only need to worry about their piece.

4. Create accountability

People both crave and resent accountability.  Creating accountability for everyone involved will help reduce the resentment and give everyone clear direction on what they need to do next,  At the end of the meeting do a quick recap of everyone’s action items so there is no question about next steps.

5. Share the results

Send out the minutes from the meeting so that there is no ambiguity.  In general these minutes will rarely be read but keeping a record of the meeting helps increase the accountability of the group. 

Sticking to this format will have a few great side effects.  

  • After a few meetings everyone will know what to expect and the meetings will move much faster
  • More work gets done because people know that they are accountable for specific deliverables
  • If there are any staffing or resource problems that need to be dealt with, the written record can be used for HR and performance conversations

About The Author

Shauna Gingras is the founder/VP of Project Management at SRP Consulting.  Shauna founded SRP Consulting in 2015 to bring her  experience working with large clients in business and technology to the changing small business market.  Since it’s founding, SRP Consulting has grown to include consultants from 5 countries providing consulting and advisory services to their clients throughout North America and Europe.

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