I wanted to talk about something a little different today – it’s an issue that almost every business has to deal with at some point or another and many businesses deal with on a regular basis. I want to talk about wasteful meetings.

About 11 million formal meetings are held in the US each day and the average worker attends 8-12 of them per week, depending on their seniority level. That statistic isn’t so bad, but almost half of the respondents (47%) of a recent survey by Salary.com revealed that unproductive meetings are their biggest time-waster. We can’t get rid of meetings altogether, but there are some tips and tricks out there to help you cut out the biggest time-wasting culprits! Silver Door has put together a handy infographic listing 10 essential productivity hacks to help you transform your business meetings. Let’s take a look.

  1. Ask yourself if the meeting is really necessary. A lot of meetings really don’t need to be meetings at all. It’s possible that a conference call, group email, conversation, or memo would do the trick just as well and not take up as much time.
  2. Advance the agenda. How much meeting time is spent brainstorming or stalling for time while trying to answer questions? If you send out an agenda in advance, people have time to prepare and this can lead to a much shorter meeting.
  3. State agenda items as questions. This helps to spark creativity and can lead to better and quicker answers.
  4. Don’t sit down, stand up. This makes people more focused on the topics being discussed and less likely to doodle or daydream.
  5. Start meetings at random times. It may seem weird, but starting a meeting at exactly 7 past the hour instead of on the hour can increase the chances of people showing up on time.
  6. Set a finish time. This will force you to get through your agenda within the set time, leaving little room for dilly-dallying.
  7. Cover important items first. Since you’re setting a fixed length of time for your meeting, make sure to cover the most important topics first. That way, even if you don’t cover everything on your agenda, you’ve made sure to discuss the most pressing.
  8. Keep notes and circulates them within 24 hours. This makes sure that people are clear about the expectations and deadlines discussed (so you don’t need to call another meeting to go over it all again!)
  9. Be open and honest. This makes for a discussion that is more productive and fruitful.
  10. Set aside 5 minutes at the end to de-brief. This is a good morale booster to make sure everyone in the meeting is on the same page and feels good about the way that the meeting went.

Hopefully, these tips can help your team get the most out of your meetings. Have you figured out any tricks to make meetings more productive? Let me know in the comments.

10 Productivity Hacks to Transform Any Business Meeting - Infographic