Hate Meetings? Here’s How You Can Make Your Meetings More Effective (Planning)

Use this handy meeting checklist to make sure your meetings are efficient and productive

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I hate meetings. There, I said it. It’s out there. Mostly, I hate meetings because the vast majority are a simple and utter waste of everyone’s time. But, they don't have to be. There are some quick and simple things you can do to make your meetings more efficient and productive.

In companies across the country, employees attend 62 meetings per month and at least half of those meetings are considered “time wasted.” Employees spend hours and hours in meeting rooms talking and discussing without a clear objective. Nobody knows why they are there, what they are supposed to do or what should happen after the meeting. In fact, more often than not the attendees decide just to schedule yet another follow-up meeting.

Meetings are currently one of the most unproductive elements of our day but with some simple tweaks and some discipline, meetings can be quite effective and actually even quite satisfying. Here are some ways you can make your meetings work again.

PRE- MEETING CHECKLIST
  • Schedule meetings in advance and think critically about the amount of time that’s needed. All meetings do not need to be an hour. Most can be handled in 15-30 minutes.
  • Think through who is invited to attend and what their specific role is in the meeting. Try hard to limit the number of attendees and keep in mind that you only need to invite one person to represent each department or group.
  • Set a clear objective for the meeting. Identify and communicate the specific goal and expected outcome of the meeting.
  • Outline an agenda including topics with time allocations and send it to meeting participants in advance so they are prepared.
MEETING CHECKLIST
  • Start meetings on time and end 5-10 minutes early to allow people to regroup and get to their next meeting on time.
  • Identify a record keeper to take notes, document decisions and record action items which should be assigned to specific people with deadlines.
  • Ask participants to put away their phones and laptops for the duration of the meeting or if they have something more pressing to take care of they should feel free to leave the meeting and catch up through the meeting notes.
  • Ensure the discussion and all comments are on topic and relevant. If other topics arise, suggest scheduling a separate time to discuss them and encourage everyone to get back to the topic at hand by reminding them of the objective.
POST-MEETING CHECKLIST
  • As soon as the meeting ends, add any action items you may have been assigned to your to-do list so you don’t forget about them.
  • Send meeting notes to meeting participants within 24 hours of the meeting including key decisions, action items and next steps.
TRY THIS OUT: Before you schedule your next meeting, stop and review this list. Pick three of these things to implement and see how it works and what reaction you get. Next, keep what works and throw out what doesn’t. Then, pick three more to test for your next meeting. You can become a leader in your organization by leading effective meetings.
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Monisha Longacre
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre founded her own company, Productivity 101 and created a new mobile app called priorigami™: the art of productivity.As our lives have become so much more hectic, demanding and complex, we strive to be more organized and productive but struggle with how to get everything done efficiently. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to become more productive and spend more time doing the things that really matter in life.priorigami was designed to be the “Fitbit” for productivity and is based on the methodology that she developed juggling work, home and family responsibilities. Read and follow her blog at www.priorigami.com for weekly tips and tricks you can use everyday to get more done more efficiently.Download priorigami for FREE from the iTunes App Store.