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Waste Time at Meetings? Try These 8 Meeting Management Tips

Waste Time at Meetings? Try These 8 Meeting Management Tips

We all have meetings everyday. Meetings are supposed to be the best tool for you to communicate with your colleagues face-to-face and to come up with some great ideas. But in reality, team meetings actually cost more than you think such as wasted time. Effective meetings that produce results begins with meeting planning. Here are 9 meeting management tips that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a meeting.

  1. Identify your company goal/ project goal/ meeting goal. You should know what you expect to achieve by the end of the meeting. Will you have created a set of actions that the team can execute on afterwards to achieve the goal? Otherwise, team mates will just daydream about where to have lunch.
  2. Be on time, both starting time and ending time. Once you have set a time limit, you will be more productive. Just imagine your laptop has only 1.5 hours battery left and you have to send 10 emails before the battery runs dead. You have to hurry up before the computer shuts down automatically, this way you will become highly productive in the following 90 minutes. Setting time limits actually creates a sense of urgency and lets the whole team complete the discussion in a timely manner.
  3. Designate a moderator for the meeting. It needs a moderator to guide it through any problems that might arise, for example if people stray off topic, derail, go over time on certain points. It also encourages those attending the meeting to be prepared. Without a leader, the meeting can meander and never reach its destination.
  4. Every participant should come to the meeting prepared. Some colleagues keep quiet during the whole meeting or fail to make valid points because they are unprepared. By being prepared, everyone can build a sense of understanding about the topic of the meeting and give valuable contribution in the meeting. There is no time wasted, explaining parts of the agenda.
  5. Always end meetings  with “Decision and actions”. Don’t assume that ideas discussed during a meeting will be put into action or even remembered. Often people need a gentle nudge to remind them about completing an action. Leaders need to check to ensure that actions are taking place as agreed. Without actions, the time spent on meetings is totally wasted. All actions should have a designated owner so that the tasks have someone to drive it.
  6. Don’t blame or criticize. To criticize is easy, but to do the job is not. Blaming camouflages the real problems. It keeps the focus away from appreciating what the team have done and what’s going right.
  7. Recognize others contributions and strengths. Recognizing the contributions that colleagues make to the team helps solidify the relationships and foster colleagues loyalty to the team.
  8. State problems with 3 minutes and start with recommendation and solutions. It is common that participants spend too much time on discussing the problems. In fact, the process of sorting out solutions is much more important than talking about problems. Don’t waste your time on something that already exists, spend your time wisely on how you can solve the issue.

Featured photo credit:  Team of casual looking business people having business meeting via Shutterstock

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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