Probably the biggest productivity saboteur in the workplace today: the meeting. The meeting that was supposed to take an hour and ended up consuming the entire morning. The meeting where everyone talked in circles and nothing got decided or resolved. The meeting where information was pushed at people who barely even pretended to pay attention.
Wouldn’t it be great if those meetings could happen less often, in less time, and still achieve the same — or even better — results? We’re here to tell you it can be done! Here are the strategies we at Integrity Staffing Solutions use to make this dream a reality.
Eliminate the Non-Essential.
Ask yourself if this meeting is really necessary. Do you really need production updates more than once a week, or is the same information being repeated from one meeting to the next? How about once a week, or even one every two weeks?
Ask yourself how many people really need to attend. Remember, the more man-hours are tied up in your meeting, the fewer are spent on production. Maybe some colleagues would do just as well if they just saw the post-meeting report.
Issue a Pre-Meeting Brief.
Any background information relevant to the subject of the meeting should be distributed at least one day beforehand, so that no time is wasted reviewing it during the meeting itself.
Give Everyone a Written Agenda.
Assign a specific time for each discussion point. This almost always works because people automatically adjust themselves to the allotted time frame. When speakers are in danger of running overtime, give them a two-minute warning.
Establish Concrete, Actionable Goals.
The purpose of any meeting should be to determine the next steps toward a goal. Vague “we need to update our marketing plan” statements are a prescription for long, inconclusive discussions. Better: “allocate marketing resources for the new product line.”
Assign Follow-Up Actions.
Everyone should leave the meeting knowing exactly what the next steps are, who is responsible for executing them and by what date. All this should be spelled out in the post-meeting report that is distributed to all attendees and any other personnel who will be involved in accomplishing the follow-up goals.
Using these formulas for pre-, in- and post-meeting procedures should significantly cut the amount of time you spend talking about business instead of doing business.
No meeting will last longer than one hour.
No phones, tablets or laptops allowed (unless necessary to conduct the meeting).
No formal presentations. These should be in the pre-meeting information distribution, and everyone should come prepared to discuss them.
No waiting or backtracking for latecomers. If the tardy individual absolutely must be present, reschedule the meeting.