Did you know that, in Britain, the average worker will sit through 6,239 meetings during their career? According to estimates, that can work out as an entire year of meetings! One in five workers have admitted to dozing off in meetings in the past, and over 60 percent say that meetings can often be considered ‘pretty pointless’.
If you’re often running or attending meetings in your day to day job, you’ll want to assure that those meetings are worth a year off yours and your colleagues’ lives – what’s the point of them otherwise?
Read on to find out some of the best productivity hacks you can use to transform your business meetings into worthwhile and efficient events.
Consider value and necessity
Will the meeting you’re organising offer value to the people attending, and is it necessary to have a meeting at all? These are the two most important questions to ask yourself when you start planning a meeting. Many meetings can often become much more productive by being held over a conference call, discussed in a simple conversation, or even just emailed out to colleagues or clients.
If the same outcome can be achieved without organising a meeting, you could save yourself and your attendees a lot of time; time that could be spent actually working on the actions that your meeting would have discussed.
Send over your agenda in advance
It may feel like discussing an agenda at the beginning of a meeting is a productive way to start – you’re able to talk about what you wish to achieve in the meeting and the points that will be the key topics of conversation.
However, this can often be more of a time-waster than a productive practice. Instead, why not send the agenda over 24 hours before a meeting – that way your attendees can read the agenda, understand what’s going to be discussed, and come prepared with questions and points to raise, instead of needing to do that within the meeting.
Additionally, make sure you include the most important points for the meeting first in the agenda, so that if you run out of time, you’ve discussed the points that contain the most value and the less urgent items can be picked up in emails or calls after the meeting.
Make your meeting time exact
We all know of, or have attended, meetings delayed by latecomers. One way to counteract the waiting around is to set the starting time of your meeting to a seemingly random time – instead of saying that your meeting will start at 10am, say that it will start at 10:04am – and make sure you start the meeting at exactly that time. Of course, make allowances for delays but update the start time with another random yet exact time.
This practice is said to increase punctuality in meeting attendees, meaning that there will be less time wasted at the beginning of a meeting waiting for people to arrive. In fact, using these random, exact times can actually increase the chance of everyone being on time because it’s more likely to stick in their mind.
Set a finish time for your meeting
We’ve all sat in those meetings that seem to go round and round in circles without an end in sight. Without a clear end time, meetings can go on for as long there is conversation and points to discuss. While it may seem good to allow the meeting to go on for as long as is needed, it can risk your discussions falling into repetition and wasted time.
Make sure that you set a finish time for your meetings when you’re setting up the invites to your attendees. When the meeting starts, address this finish time in your agenda and outline how you’re planning on covering the agenda within the timeframe to make sure everyone is aware and on the same page.
Keep notes and send them out after the meeting
Keeping accurate notes of the meeting’s proceedings and circulating these after the meeting has concluded (aim for within 24 hours) is a great way to keep productivity high among attendees. The notes will provide a written testament of what was discussed in the meeting, re-informing people about the responsibilities and deadlines agreed upon, and also reminding them of any points that were discussed that they may have missed or forgotten to note down.
This can also be reinforced by a debrief at the end of the meeting. You could simply use five minutes to address the responsibilities that are expected from the attendees and make sure that everyone is focused on the same goals, knows what needs to be done, and feels that the meeting has been a success.
If you’re looking for a venue for your next business meeting, right in the heart of London with excellent transport links, specialised equipment and facilities, and a historic background, look no further than The Brewery on Chiswell Street. We have a number of venue spaces, of various sizes, and can provide both catering and technology that will make your meeting both productive and enjoyable.
Simply enquire here for more information.