American professionals conduct approximately 11 million meetings a day and 220 million meetings per year. Employees spend 10% more time in meeting with meeting length estimated at 31 minutes on average. What does it entail? Wasteful meetings are one of the top reasons that hinder productivity at work.
Make your meetings more productive, interactive, and meaningful with these tips:
Preparation is Key
How many times did you attend a meeting unprepared? Coming in late with no agenda destroys the mood of the meeting. It contributes to the attendees’ boredom. Before inviting your team for a meeting, summarize your agenda. Cite the purpose of the meeting and explain why the attendee’s presence is necessary. Share an agenda prior to the meeting to set your attendees' expectations. It also allows you to save as much as 17 minutes when you come prepared for your meeting.
Encourage Participation and Creativity
Participation during the meeting should be mandatory, else do the discussion via an email thread. Encouraging people to participate allow them to work their brain and contribute to your discussion. You can take the participation to a whole new level by assigning the attendees with tasks and ask for their opinion. A poll on everyone’s idea during a brainstorming session. If the meeting focuses on goal-setting, allow time for comments and suggestions.
Set your attendees’ expectations by telling them beforehand the expected duration of your meeting. This makes everyone more conscious of the time and avoids interruptions.
Never Allow Anyone to Hoard Time
It is normal that you dominate the meeting if you called for it. However, if somebody else takes the floor and noticeably hoards time, interrupt. It will just make your meeting dragging and more tedious. Redirect comments and call on expert people during discussion time to answer the questions. As a leader, it is your sole responsibility to encourage everyone to participate and not just a few people.
Discourage Smartphones and Other Devices
This is to minimize your team from being distracted by other things such as social media. They’ll have a harder time retaining the discussions with devices around them. Encourage being fully present and mindfulness during a meeting by turning discouraging devices.
Diversify Your Presentation Materials
Powerpoint presentation may be important but if you are solely relying on this app, then you risk boring your team. Use vivid visuals to awaken your team members’ curiosity rather than listening to a speaker monotonously reading a presentation verbatim. You can also bring toys and use games to stimulate discussions, encourage participation, and break the eyes.
Go Beyond the Boardroom
Change venues from time to time. This can excite your team members and encourage their creative juices. Sometimes, a change in scenery is all they need to improve their creativity or contribute lucrative ideas.
Your team members are more likely to look forward to meetings once they know what they should expect. It is also crucial that you foster a non-judgment environment during meetings.