Try these five simple steps to help organize the day and ensure meetings aren’t happening just for the sake of meetings.
- Do you really need to meet? Why spend half the day sitting in meetings if it’s not necessary? A quick phone call or an e-mail usually can tie up loose ends versus sitting around in a room fidgeting because there are other, more pressing items that need attention.
- Ensure people know the agenda beforehand so they come prepared with what’s needed. If people aren’t prepared, meetings don’t start when they should and time that could have been spent discussing the issues is lost.
- Meet about the things that need action taken on them and by the end of the meeting, ensure some type of action occurs. Action could be as simple as attaching a name to an item that needs to be completed.
- Have someone take notes to ensure action items are accounted for and assigned. Share these notes with all meeting attendees. People sometimes need reminding, especially if they haven’t understood or written down that they were assigned something. It’s also helpful to see what was agreed upon in writing after the fact to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Location, location, location! Sometimes just sitting by the people you need to interact with can cut down on the number of meetings because you’re talking with these folks all the time. More and more companies are moving toward a flexible and open work environment where people can move their desks around or be grouped in pods so they can discuss any issues at any time that may arise. In addition, having whiteboards in the space also fosters the ability to have an impromptu meeting quickly with the group to write out what they may need to solve at that moment.
There are certainly many other suggestions on how to make the most of the meetings we attend in our workday. For example, Ben Casnocha, entrepreneur and author, suggests combining meetings with cardio work. Fred Kofman, Executive coach and author tells us to refocus on what versus how when structuring and putting together meetings.
Lastly, Patrick Lencioni, author of “Death by Meeting” offers a unique take on how to structure meetings for maximum success and efficiency.