It’s no secret that professionals everywhere dread the thought of boring meetings. Pointless meetings are not only a drag for everyone involved, but also a major financial burden as well; the average professional spends about 2 hours each week in pointless meetings, leading to costs of $399 billion in wasted time per year. Increasing meeting productivity is incredibly important not only for improving employee morale but also reducing costs that come from wasted time.
Have a clear agenda
Having a clear agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed and what order they will be discussed in has a number of benefits that significantly increases meeting productivity. Firstly, a clear agenda gives people time to think about the topics that will be discussed, leading to more thoughtful discussions. Secondly, having everyone on the same page about what will be talked about will mitigate the amount of time spent on nonessential topics. Having a plan makes meetings more focused and improves the quality of everyone’s contributions.
Send information out in advance
A great way to spend unnecessary time in meetings is going over information that could’ve been sent out beforehand. Critical documents that need to be reviewed should be sent out beforehand, as well as logistical information critical to the meeting. Make sure everyone is on the same page before the meeting starts in order to maximize productivity.
Make sure everyone feels included
The worst feeling during a meeting is feeling like you don’t have an opportunity to voice your opinion—or worse yet, feeling like your opinion isn’t valued. Making employees feel engaged in meetings makes them feel like their opinions matter, increasing team morale and willingness to participate. Having employees feel like they’re important team members makes them work harder and produce higher quality work. If you see a team member that hasn’t contributed much, they might have something they want to say but either feel intimidated or haven’t gotten a chance to say it. Getting everyone involved produces results by improving team morale and seeking opinions that otherwise would’ve been swept under the rug.
Consider energy levels as well as time
Countless research has shown that people produce their best work when they feel energized. Meetings are tiring, and longer meetings might cause fatigue and stress which might decrease both the quality of contributions and the quality of work done after meetings. Being mindful about employees’ schedules as well as working in breaks into longer meetings can help keep energy levels high.
Make meetings concise
Having concise meetings ensures both that attention spans won’t wander, and that the group will stay on topic. Solidify a start time, set a time limit, and stick to both those times. Even if someone is running late, start the meeting on time or tardiness will become a habit. Furthermore, try to limit meetings to 30 minutes max or you risk people getting bored and losing focus.
Only invite key people
Having too many people in a meeting is a great way to decrease output and overall productivity. Having more people runs the risk that the team will hear more contributions from people not as closely connected to the issue; this could lead to lower quality contributions which makes the meeting useful. Furthermore, too many people can make it harder for people to get their contributions in, which could lead to quality ideas being drowned out. Try to limit your meetings to ten people max where possible in order to maximize productivity.
End meetings with action items
An extremely dissatisfying feeling is leaving a meeting without knowing what to do next. After all, the whole point of meetings is to move action items in a company forward, so it’s important to end each meeting with concrete action items. At the end of each meeting, based on what was discussed, clearly outline the next steps, who’s going to do them, and on what time frame they need to be done. This will team members now what to do and maximize the productive utility of meetings.
Use an AI meeting assistant
Having proper notes to refer back to after a meeting is critical to internalizing what was discussed. An AI meeting assistant like Laxis can take notes during your meeting, allowing you to focus on the meeting itself while Laxis transcribes your conversation. It will also let you flag important notes during the meeting, and help you prepare meeting notes to send to your team. This will help everyone get the most out of a meeting by being able to quickly refer to the most important parts later.
You can learn more about how to use Laxis at https://www.laxis.tech/