Meetings are one of the key elements of the business world. Unfortunately, however, poor organization and navigation of the majority of business meetings has led to the majority of them becoming basically just a huge waste of everyone’s time.
Although important, business meetings should be organized carefully. According to research, too frequent and meetings that are too long can actually result in the opposite of what they are trying to achieve. This can lead to many other issues within the organization, such as a decrease in productivity, employee dissatisfaction, and even high employee turnover. With that being said, here are some of the ways you can improve productivity and enhance the overall experience of business meetings.
What do the numbers say?
According to a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 65% of participants stated that business meetings are actually keeping them from completing their work. No matter the size of your organization, this number is quite high. On top of that, more than 70% stated that they find the majority of business meetings to be inefficient and even counterproductive.
As many as 62% of participants also stated that meetings usually fail to inspire collective and instead fail to bring the team closer together. By looking at these numbers, it’s safe to say that – for the majority of employees – business meetings are actually doing the opposite of what they’re intended to.
Don’t waste time
One of the main issues of the majority of meetings is the fact that employees feel like their time is being wasted for no reason. When not properly organized, meetings can result in increased employee dissatisfaction.
That’s why you always need to make sure you stick to the point. It’s better to organize short meetings periodically than to hold a two-hour-long meeting each week. In case of the latter, you’ll be using your employees’ precious time they could’ve otherwise spent on something productive that would actually bring results.
Organize meetings only when necessary
Ideally, business meetings should be organized and held only when there’s a certain matter that requires everyone’s attention. Follow-up meetings and various check-in meetings can only hinder productivity. That’s why you need to make sure that you organize a meeting only when absolutely necessary.
In such an instance, you want to ensure that all the crucial members of your staff are present. However, it can sometimes happen that some members of the staff can’t physically attend the meeting. In such cases, you can always rely on high-quality video conferencing equipment that will enable all of your employees to attend, regardless of where they are.
Keep them short and concise
Another common issue people have with business meetings is the fact that they sometimes may seem never-ending. Business meetings that last too long will actually drive the opposite result than intended. That’s why you should try and set a time limit for your meeting and do your best not to go too much over it. The most productive business meetings last only 10 to 30 minutes.
Anything over that will run the risk of feeling too stretched out and redundant. If, however, your meeting has already reached the end of the pre-set timeframe, yet there are still things that need to be discussed, make sure you at least offer your employees a chance to take a break. This will help them refresh and readjust their focus, which will improve their motivation and productivity for the rest of the meeting.
Stick to the agenda
Any good business meeting needs to have a clear agenda, as this is the most important element. That’s why you need to make sure that you prepare your business agenda well before you actually schedule the meeting. In order to do this right, you need to determine and understand why the meeting needs to be held in the first place.
This will enable you to come up with an ideal meeting schedule. Additionally, it will guide you through the process of organizing your talking points. Either in written or digital form, you should always have talking points for any meeting your can reference and rely on, to ensure that the topic and the flow of the meeting stay on point.
In the end, not all meetings will require your entire staff to be present. On the contrary! One of the less common tactics – but certainly one of the most productive ones – is to limit the number of business meeting attendees. No matter the size of your endeavor, make sure you only invite key people to attend the meeting. That way, you will minimize not only the time that could potentially be wasted but also the overall price of your meeting.
So, the next time you’re thinking about scheduling a business meeting, first make sure that the topic absolutely can’t be summarized in an email. That way, you’ll ensure you’re not wasting anyone’s time and that your meeting will actually drive the intended results.