An issue that both managers and employees encounter is the wasteful meeting. While it seems that many people conclude meetings could often be an email exchange instead, actually 94 percent of employees view their business meetings as wasteful at least some of the time. The long time spent in meetings could go to more productive uses. There are simple steps that companies can use to make sure that their business meetings are worth it and reclaim valuable lost time.
A source of wasteful meetings is not having a clear purpose. Creating an agenda beforehand can help make sure that a business meeting is worth attending. The person calling the meeting should check that the material on the agenda requires an actual meeting and is not more suitable for an email. Sticking to the agenda throughout the meeting also makes it more efficient, making the meeting feel more worthwhile. Reducing the number of attendees to only those who must attend can help keep the focus.
Another source of meeting waste stems from lost time during the meeting handling technology or pausing to find information. To combat this, meeting leaders should plan out and test anything they might need to use during the meeting. For instance, if there is a presentation, someone needs to check the audio-visual equipment. Presenters should have their slides pulled up before the meeting starts. In a virtual meeting, the person running the meeting should check the link before sending it out. A checklist of the technology required can streamline meetings to reduce wasting time.
Setting goals for a meeting can also help provide focus and make meetings worth it. Signaling at the start of the meeting can keep everyone on track with the focus of achieving stated goals. It is even better to include the goals of the meeting with the meeting invite. Participants can look forward to the session without questioning if it is worthwhile. The person setting the goals should set tangible and reasonable goals that the meeting can accomplish.
While worthless meetings are commonplace, there are easy ways to give all meetings a purpose. Although it takes more preparation to provide structure to a meeting and check the technology, this pays off in the long run with meetings that actually accomplish something and move businesses forward.