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Waste Time at Meetings? Try These 8 Meeting Management Tips

Written by Brian Lee
Ex-chief of product management at Lifehack
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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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