Have you ever been a part of or heard chatter that occurs when a sporadic meeting is called? Most times it goes like this:

“I wonder how long this meeting will be. I have a few things I was working on and would like to finish them before I leave. I really hope the meeting ends quickly and doesn’t take hours as they always do.”

And some meetings are quite time-consuming aren’t they? I’m sure you’ll admit that at least 40% of meetings could be more impactful if they were shorter by about 60% of the time they took. Multiply this time saved by the number of people these meetings affected, and you’ll see how much time of the company’s resources was spent on being “unproductive”. I say that in quotes because being in a meeting isn’t exactly unproductive, but meetings that take longer than they should would be unproductive use of time.

To avoid all this, try holding power meetings. Using these simple to adopt habits you could start holding power meetings within hours and save your team a lot of time.

1. Hold Back on Small Talk

Most meetings with cross-functional teams, peers and sometimes even your own team members kick starts with small talk. It’s nice to catch up with colleagues and see how things are with them. It’s also a good ice breaker – a precursor to the meeting itself. But power meetings aren’t the place for these.

Sure you don’t want to come off as cold-hearted and reserved. But while you want the meeting to have a human element to it, you have to make the most of time. So pleasantries and small talk can be put off for another day – maybe even post-meeting you could walk back to your office with some of the attendees and engage in some light chatter.

Power meetings, on the other hand, usually start off like this:

  • “Thank you everyone for being here. Recently we’ve been experiencing …”
  • “Hello everyone. I’ve called this meeting to address issues related to …”
  • “Since this is a short meeting I’m going to get right to it. We need to …”

Staying “to the point” is what you’re aiming for in power meetings.

2. Be Prepared and Structured

Heading into a meeting with a rough idea about what you’ll say is like going sailing without sails. You’ll be floating and wandering aimlessly with no direction and seriously losing a lot of time. A good power meeting has to be thought out and focused on a particular agenda. Structure your power meetings along these guidelines:

  • Why was the meeting called: Define and stay focused on the core idea behind the meeting
  • What are the outputs: Are there actionable items to be worked on? Will there be a follow-up meeting? Are there going to be discussions?
  • Who will be the contributors: Are you going to take input and feedback from people? Will you assign tasks to specific people?
  • What is the bottom-line: What is the meeting trying to achieve and what’s the message you want your team to walk away with?

The better you prepare and structure your meetings the more you’ll be able to achieve in a short time. And if you remember something else along the way you could take a few seconds to mention it. But if it’ll take another minute, then hold back and wait till the next meeting to talk about it.

3. Cut to the Chase

You’re an eloquent and charismatic leader who could talk at lengths about things that’ll motivate and recharge your team. But this isn’t that type of meeting. During power meetings you’re going to stay focused on the agenda. There can’t be any steering into other avenues and topics of discussion. All that can happen at a later session.

Your delivery is the key to hold this meeting together. But it doesn’t have to be one directional. Here are your choices on how to stay focused:

  1. Deliver your message as planned. Don’t open up to discussions or feedback. Let your team process what you’ve said and think over it. Break off this meeting and schedule another meeting for some other day. Regroup and then open the forum to questions, discussions and debates.
  2. Structure your power meetings in a way that allocates time for discussions and suggestions. This way you’ll allow your team the ability to react immediately and you’ll obtain important feedback from them promptly.

Whichever choice you make in your delivery, feedback from your team is important to ensure your decisions are include their support.

It goes without saying that power meetings are the perfect way to utilize and manage time effectively and productively. They get the job done (or the message across) in the littlest of time and stay clear of needless and lengthy debates which often drag a meeting into the realm of unproductivity. Use them frequently enough and you’ll be left with a lot of time on your hands to come up with creative new strategies, all thanks to holding effective power meetings.