7 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Efficient

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7 Ways to Make Your Meetings More EfficientAre you tired of having less than efficient meetings?

Meetings should be places where ideas are discussed, plans are made, items are voted upon, and where things get done.

If you’re not seeing any of the above in your meetings, chances are, your meetings are in need of an efficiency overhaul.

In this post, I offer seven simple ways you can make your meetings more efficient.   

Create a meeting agenda.

A meeting agenda is an absolute must for any meeting, as it will direct how the meeting is run.

Before you create an agenda, you should identify the goals of your meeting.

What do you want to accomplish by holding a meeting?

What large and small goals do you want to reach?   

When you do create your agenda, make sure you include agenda items, as well as time references for each item.

This will help you better manage the flow of the meeting, and ensure it will end when it is supposed to end.

Follow the meeting agenda.

Here’s a riddle for you: what good are instructions if you don’t follow them? Not very helpful!

Purposefully ignoring an agenda is almost as bad as not having an agenda in the first place.

If you don’t follow your agenda, your meeting has the potential to go dangerously go off topic, waste loads of time, and turn into an unruly scene.

Once you’ve created a meeting agenda, follow it to the letter. Doing so will help you stay on track.

Invite the right people.

Inviting everyone and anyone to a meeting does not make a meeting more important, or productive. In reality, it only gums up the works.

Make sure you are inviting only those people who actually need to be at the meeting.

When it comes to selecting people for your meeting, think about whether or not they’ll actually have something to add to the meeting in terms of information, feedback, decision-making, and the like.

Of course, if the meeting is a presentation, make sure the attendees are those who absolutely need to know what is being presented.   

Get serious about punctuality.

We’ve all got busy schedules, but that’s no excuse for lateness. Make it clear to meeting attendees that the meeting will start and end on time.

You might have to remind people that if they arrive to the meeting on time, they can leave on time. That’s not a bad deal, now is it?

Designate a meeting leader.

A meeting leader is the person who will direct the meeting, from start to finish.

It is their job to lead the meeting according to the items listed in the agenda. They make sure meeting topics are discussed, items are noted, side conversations are halted, and that the meeting proceeds as scheduled.

Having more than one meeting leader can make things more complicated than they need to be, so consider giving the meeting leader role to a single person.    

Place a ban on electronic devices.

Ask meeting attendees to temporarily switch off or turn off their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. The idea here is to eliminate distractions, so the meeting can take place, and end in a timely fashion.

After all, you asked people to join the meeting, and not to sit there fiddling with their phones or tablets! The meeting will be over soon enough.

Keep the meeting table clear.

The last thing you need at a meeting are unnecessary distractions. Having fewer items on the table will allow attendees to better focus on the meeting itself.

Ask meeting participants to remove everything that isn’t necessary for the meeting from the meeting table. This includes bags, briefcases, stacks of papers, books, and other ephemera.

How about you? Are you interested in running more efficient meetings? Which of these tips do you currently use, or will soon put into practice? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.