Have you ever found yourself sitting in a meeting, bored, wondering why you have to be there? Have you ever felt like a meeting you were in was long and directionless? Meetings take up a lot of time for employees, and particularly for managers. According to research, employees spend about 35% of their time in meetings and managers spend up to 50% of their time in meetings. What’s worse, many meetings are unproductive and leave you with little time to get actual work done. Despite this sad state of affairs, meetings aren’t going anywhere. In fact, each year, we spend an increasing amount of time in meetings.
There are many different types of meetings, including problem-solving meetings, planning meetings, and staff meetings, to name a few. No matter what type of meeting you’re planning, it’s important to follow a few simple rules to achieve success.
Meetings Should Have a Meeting Leader
Generally speaking, the person who calls the meeting is the meeting leader. The meeting leader should start the meeting by stating the goal of the meeting to keep the conversation focused. It is the job of the meeting leader to put the following principles into practice.
Plan the Meeting
Effective meetings begin with meeting planning. Set goals that will help you establish the purpose of the meeting. The purpose of your meeting will guide your meeting’s focus and agenda, while also determining who you need to invite to accomplish the purpose of your meeting.
Start with and Stick to an Agenda
Meetings that are planned around vague intentions rarely end well. Provide an agenda to attendees at least 24 hours in advance of a meeting so that they have time to prepare and have the same information about the meeting. This helps to make the meeting more productive. In your agenda, list out the topics you plan to discuss. A meeting agenda helps to keep the meeting structured.
Keep Meetings Short
Applied to meetings, Parkinson’s Law would go something like this: “Meetings expand to fill the time available.” Basically, if you schedule an hour-long meeting, the participants will use the full hour, even if there isn’t enough to fill the hour in the agenda. Meetings should be short rather than long because this forces the meeting participants to spend their time in the meeting wisely. It’s also important to start and end the meeting on time. Starting and ending meetings on time will solidify your reputation as an organized person.
Keep Participants Focused Throughout the Meeting
It is the meeting leader’s job to keep participants focused throughout the meeting. If no one takes charge of a meeting, it’s easy to lose focus and become careless. It’s the role of the meeting leader to redirect conversations when they get off track and to ensure that people follow the rules of the meeting. For example, you might implement a rule that people can’t use mobile phones during the meeting, so it’s necessary to enforce that rule.
Meetings tend to get a bad reputation because they are seen as time-wasters and productivity-killers, but if you follow the above simple rules, you can make your meetings effective and productive. Meetings can be a powerful tool when they are done right because they help you make better decisions and collaborate more effectively with your team members.
Simplify Meeting Planning and Scheduling with Resource Central
Meeting planning and scheduling is another process that’s wrought with time-killers and procrastination-inducers. Finding and booking an appropriate meeting room, inviting attendees, and booking services like catering can be overwhelming and time-consuming without the right tools. Add-On Products offers Resource Central, an add-on for Microsoft Outlook® and Exchange, that can help you quickly and easily plan and book meetings, saving you time so you can focus on more critical tasks.
Having an effective meeting starts with planning and booking your meetings efficiently. To try Add-On’s meeting booking solution for yourself, contact Add-On Products today to sign up for a free trial or free online demo!