Get More Done with More Efficient Meetings

Whether you have a small or large team, getting people together to work on a problem and make decisions remains the cornerstone of running a business. However, you may find that your day is filled with one meeting after another where nothing really gets done except the need of a follow-up meeting. In order to get more done and really use the meeting as a place of work, rather than talk, let’s go through a few tried and true strategies to run more efficient meetings.

Stand Up

Combat long-winded answers and talking in circles by forcing meeting participants to stand up. Making people uncomfortable makes them want to get back to their cushy seats so they tend to be more efficient with their words and decisions. Standing up also reduces people’s tendency to multitask, which can be really counterproductive to the meeting in the first place.

Enforce No Screens

We’re all busy. But if you or your meeting participants can’t commit to being 100% present during the time allotted, your meeting will be half-baked at best. But by starting your meeting with a few ground rules, like no screens, and then enforcing them, you’re more likely to get the team’s brains working on the problem at hand and you’ll set the expectation for future meetings.

Pre Work

Sometimes a little pre-work can go a long way to reducing the time spent in a meeting. If you want all participants to read a certain deck, or come up with a new pitch, make sure you set that expectation when you set the meeting. Do yourself a favor and follow up 24 to 48 hours before your meeting to make sure participants remember to come prepared.

Working Sessions

Rather than meetings, have working sessions. This works really well when you have people do pre-work so then you can use your team’s time together to make real-time decisions about the ideas everyone has brought to the meeting.

Respect The Agenda

If it’s important enough to take time away from creating value, then it’s important enough for an agenda, or at least explicit goals. Publish the purpose and agenda in the meeting invite and stick to it. Use a timer if necessary. This is especially smart for larger meetings where you may just need someone to pop in for a certain part of the meeting, rather than take up hours of their time.

Cut It In Half

If you employ any of the tactics above, couple it with this one and cut your meeting in half. If you would normally schedule a 60-minute meeting, make it 30 minutes instead and work backward to figure out what you can do so that at the end of that 30 minutes, you all have what you need and can get back to work.

While important, meetings can really kill productivity, especially in a small business. But by limiting the time spent on calls and in boardrooms, you can get yourself, and your team back to creating real value for your customers and your business.

By Andrew Patricio

July 02, 2018