Are You Making the Most of Your Meetings?

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Published on LinkedIn June 26, 2019

If you’ve ever been in a position to arrange or schedule a meeting with your team members, you should stop and consider how necessary the meeting is and how efficiently you can run it. When used effectively, meetings can inspire team members while providing opportunities for growth and positive change. Used ineffectively, meetings can be distracting, demoralizing, and halt productivity. Before scheduling a meeting with your employees or team members, ask yourself these quick three questions: 

Does everyone I’ve invited need to be there? 

I have sat in numerous meetings where a significant portion of the discussion points did not require my presence. This led to me feeling frustrated, disengaged, and quite honestly a little bored. While it is important to be transparent and keep your team informed, it is unnecessary to interrupt productivity just so everyone can listen in. A meeting’s discussion points and decision making should be limited to topics relevant to everyone in the room. The rest of the information can be sent out in downstream communications such emails or newsletters. 

Have I set an agenda and can I keep to it?

Setting a meeting agenda is an important leadership skill that takes good practice. A pre-meeting agenda brainstorm can help sort out which issues and topics warrant discussion. Distribute your agenda ahead of time so team members have an opportunity to review their thoughts and ideas. During the meeting, keep to the scheduled topics and ward of tangential conversations (or worse, arguing). Directing team members to stay focused on the agenda keeps the meeting productive and assures all agenda items can be addressed. When debate or prolonged discussion over an agenda item begins escalating, a good leader could suggest an ‘ad-hoc’ committee to investigate the issue further and bring their conclusions back to the team at a later time. 

Am I scheduling a meeting during high productivity times?

If you know your team and their workflow well enough, you should be aware of their peak productivity times. These times should not be interrupted by a meeting. If you do happen to schedule a meeting during peak times, your team members are likely to be barraged with emails, texts, or calls during the meeting. They will not only be distracted but likely also grow anxious thinking of how long their ‘to-do’ list is growing while you’re talking. Consider what the usual down times are and try to schedule meetings then. If you happen to schedule it close to meal times, such as early morning or the afternoon, offer a ‘pick-me-up’ of coffee or light snacks 

Hopefully by making your meetings less frequent and more efficient, you’ll increase attendance and engagement during these meetings and have a more productive (and happy) team.