Common-Sense Steps You Can Take to Make Meetings More Productive
How much time does your staff spend actually doing work compared to simply communicating about work? There’s a big difference, primarily in terms of making you money versus costing you money. Truth be told, employees spend nearly 80 percent of their time either in meetings, on the phone, or responding to emails. By finding ways for your team to communicate more efficiently, they will effectively spend less time yapping and more time making you money.
Seeing just how much this issue monopolizes an employee’s workday, there are many different angles you can take to tackle this problem and streamline operations. One of the biggest areas you can start with happens to also be a medium that you personally have the most control over, meetings.
For starters, making meetings more efficient means thinking about how meetings are actually run. Now, you’re likely already doing this to some extent. After all, no leader just shows up to a meeting without a plan or some sort of agenda in place. Instead, we’re suggesting that there’s value in taking a step back and reevaluating the purpose of your meetings. Upon doing so, you may discover that the goal of your meetings can even be achieved in better ways than having everyone gather in one room. If this is the case, then you may be able to forgo the meeting altogether. This is a helpful exercise to go through because of how easy it is to get stuck in the rut of “meeting for the sake of meeting.”
Once you’ve made the determination that having a meeting is the best way to achieve your goal, you’re next going to want to communicate the purpose of the meeting to all who are involved. When everybody understands what the intended outcome is regarding why they’re gathered, everybody will be on the same page and wasting time by getting off topic will be minimized.
As a bonus, this move will help you wrap up meetings earlier. This could even help change the way certain employees think about meetings, particularly workers that may be so tied to their schedules that they feel obligated to keep a meeting going until it’s scheduled to end--even if the goal was achieved early on. It should go without saying that ending a meeting earlier than scheduled will lead to workers being able to spend more time, you know, working.
Another proactive measure you can take to streamline your meetings is to create an outline and send it to everyone at least 24 hours in advance. By doing this, participants will know what to expect and be able to provide quality input before and during the meeting. This due to the simple fact that they’ve had adequate time to run through the meeting in their head and formulate thoughtful questions and responses. As a bonus, you can send information to the participants relating to the topic at hand, and ask them to have it read before the meeting, sort of like assigning homework. This will make meetings feel less like everyone is “shooting from the hip,” and more like all involved are contributing in meaningful ways.
When the meeting ends, you can streamline the process further by getting honest feedback. By taking time to hear the participants\' thoughts on whether or not the goals were met, and what ideas they may have about improving how meetings are run, you’ll be able to tweak and enhance future meetings based on such feedback.
Of course, when it comes to streamlining communications around the office, equipping your workforce with the right technology can be a tremendous help. For example, technology can serve as an aid to make meetings more efficient, like utilizing video conferencing tools so people can participate in a virtual meeting from wherever they may be, even via their mobile device.
At the end of the day, strategically implementing the right collaboration technologies will go a long way in improving the efficiency of your operation so that more revenue-generating projects can get accomplished. Need help with this? Call Directive today at 607.433.2200 for assistance with finding and implementing collaboration technologies that will best meet the unique needs of your business.