Meetings are a cornerstone of business society, but poorly strategized meetings hurt company productivity in a big way. If your employees dread going to meetings and won’t engage in active participation in a meeting, it’s probably time to try something new. Simple changes like implementing Meetings powered by Spruce can transform meetings from negative experiences to positive ones.
Stop giving presentations and calling them meetings. LinkedIn has stopped giving presentations during meetings and found that meeting length has drastically reduced. Give attendees the meat of the meeting’s content prior to the starting time by sharing a Meetings app with all of the collateral already prepared. Utilize the time together to actually talk about it, which should be noticeably shorter in length. It’s a much better use of everyone’s time to analyze and apply information instead of presenting information that could be consumed individually.
Stop using paper handouts. It wastes trees, yes, but most people tune out as soon as they’re presented with pages of text. They will either stop listening in order to read or refuse to read because they’re listening. Even worse, they may refuse to read or listen. Go paperless and make the necessary content digital and interactive. Use Meetings to upload and share resources like spreadsheets, photo galleries and videos. Attendees use their iPhones or iPads instead of a big packet of wasted paper.
Ask for feedback and participation in every meeting. Meetings are easy places to tune out and daydream while looking like you’re still listening. Keep attendees engaged by asking questions and requesting feedback throughout the meeting. Nothing is more demoralizing to employees than believing their opinions don’t matter. Give them a chance to share and then listen to what they say. An email form is a great way to get even the most reserved employees to offer their thoughts without pressuring them to speak in front of a group.
Make an agenda and stick to it. The meetings that turn into marathons are often the ones where the team just gets together to “talk about some upcoming things.” Suddenly you’ve rabbit trailed onto a topic entirely unrelated to why you got together in the first place. Have a list or a “parking lot” forming of other topics that come up but need to be discussed or considered later. Make your agenda accessible to all of the attendees so they can help hold you accountable to it.
Keep it short. Time spent in meetings is time that can’t be spent on other tasks. Consider the monetary impact of your meeting to determine whether or not it’s worth the time. Six employees in a two hour meeting who earn $40 per hour costs the company $480 in productivity, and that doesn’t account for any snacks or meals, rented equipment or space, or potential travel time to and from the meeting. If the content isn’t worth the cost, prioritize topics and find alternatives to a meeting.
Here’s to more productive workplaces and time well-spent!