When a meeting is announced at your workplace, is a collective sigh of dread heard ’round the office? Are meetings eating up valuable work time, producing little to no results, and basically boring everyone to the brink of screams? If so, this guide is for you. Here are some extraordinarily odd, yet easily doable ways to make the meeting work for you, not against you.
1. Don’t Have a Meeting
Is this a rather simple, mundane issue that could easily be resolved via an email? If so, don’t waste 30 minutes to an hour in a meeting. Type up a memo, hit send, and be done with it.
2. Don’t Use a Table
Tables encourage people to bring lots of creature comforts. Creature comforts encourage people to sit and stay awhile. Both of these contribute to unnecessarily long meetings, even when the meetings are producing little or no real results. Ax the table to encourage everyone to hash it out and wrap it up.
3. Don’t Use Chairs
To really keep meetings moving along, as well as encouraging a more physically active workplace, do away with the chairs, too. People won’t want to stand around arguing meaningless points; they will want to get done and get back to their workstations where they can sit down. It keeps the meeting tightly focused and on point.
4. Don’t Accept Tardiness
Tardiness delays the meeting and/or leads to the need for someone to rehash what has already been discussed. Make it socially unacceptable to be late for a meeting by initiating some form of deterrent. For instance, the last person into the meeting might have to clean up the room afterward or might have to take responsibility for the week for whichever office chore is least desirable.
5. Don’t Invite Anyone Unnecessary
Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many attendants spoil the meeting. Much of the time, only a few people are necessary when it comes to discussing an issue and making decisions. The rest of the crew can be informed of the decision via memo, email, or a single, brief meeting after the decision-making process is complete. When drafting your list of people to invite, don’t put everyone’s name down just because it’s expected. Restrict meeting attendants to those most affected by the issue and most responsible for the decisions and outcome.
6. Make the Agenda Known (and Stick Rigidly to It)
Once you’ve established a meeting is necessary, develop an agenda and distribute it to those who are going to attend. Stick to it! If side issues come up during the meeting, make a note to follow up on that later, via an email, another meeting, or whatever other means is most suitable.
7. Set a Time Limit
Sometimes a start time is set for the meeting, but no end time is established. Set a time limit, and construct the agenda to keep the group on track to adhere to the limit. One surefire way to keep a meeting within the set time frame is to book the conference room just before another meeting is scheduled to start.
8. Don’t Allow Mobile Devices
Breathe! It is possible. Your IT help desk workers still know how to use a pen and paper. Keeping mobile devices out of the meeting will accomplish several goals: keeping it brief, keeping it quiet, keeping it on point, and keeping people engaged in the business at hand.
Utilizing these tips will help you achieve shorter meetings while still managing to produce more and better results. Happy meeting!
About Karen Small
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