How to make meetings more effective?

17 Dec 2015

Many startup founders spend a lot of their time sitting in meetings. Very often, they have been frustrated at the thought of long meetings getting in the way of a day’s work. Properly organized meetings can save a lot of time. And make everyone’s jobs easier. In the spirit of productivity, we bring you a few tips on how you can make meetings more effective.

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Thoughtfully consider the agenda of the meeting

Be clear of the objectives of the meeting. If you’re not sure of why exactly you need this meeting, then you can be sure nothing will get resolved quickly. Spending a few extra minutes deciding the objectives to be discussed in the meeting will save more time at the meeting and be more effective. An agenda will result in a more focused meeting.

Distribute the agenda to the attendees if necessary

This will make sure the attendees are ware of the objectives that need to be discussed in the meeting. If any attendee believes something should be added or removed, they have an opportunity to do so before the meeting rather than deal with it during the meeting.

Cover important items first

When you draw up the agenda, apply the 80/20 rule. Organize the agenda so that the top 20% of items are the first items to be discussed. This way, if you run out of time, you will have covered the items that represent 80% of the value of the meeting before the time runs out.

Decide who needs to attend the meeting.

Invite only those people who are actually needed at the meeting. Sometimes certain people can be updated with a phone call or email and their presence at the meeting is not necessary. Waiting to find a time for everyone to make it to the meeting is a lot of productive time lost to the company.

Be prepared

Send out background material prior to the meeting. Reviewing it and being prepared with your comments saves time for everyone. If you have questions about the material, consider emailing them to the person calling the meeting or to the other attendees in advance, so they have time to think about what you’ve asked.

Keep the time in mind

Schedule the meeting for 30 minutes or more depending on how you’ve planned the agenda. Knowing that you have allotted yourself time to discuss your objectives will help you to make sure you finish it in a shorter time period and do not take up extra time.

Try not to recap for latecomers

If you wait for all the latecomers to settle down and then recap what they missed out on, you are essentially starting the meeting again from the beginning.

 Set the last few minutes for recap

Use the last few, say 10 minutes for a one hour meeting, to recap what has been discussed in the meeting. It is essential to move forward and make sure everyone is on board, understand what their action items are and what decisions were made.

 Document the meeting

Minutes of the Meeting (MOM) are the best way to document a meeting. Make sure there is someone is responsible for taking MOM. Distribute the minutes later.

 Consider a stand-up meeting

Lastly, consider having a standing meeting.There’s actually intriguing research showing that stand-up meeting can be more efficient. In one study, groups that were standing took roughly one-third less time to make decisions than those who were seated, with no loss in the quality of decisions. They might not be practical for all your meetings, but it’s worth considering.

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