Tips to Create a More Productive Meeting

Article by Lucy Lyle Perch.

No one likes meetings, and everyone agrees that a bad meeting is a monumental waste of time. Meetings don’t have to be a necessary evil. They can be places where valuable facetime leads to measurable results. If you want to keep your meeting productive, utilize these tips:

Create an Agenda

A meeting agenda is important to establish what will be discussed, who plans to speak, and what the meeting will cover. Distribute the agenda ahead of time so everyone has time to review it and to prepare any necessary responses or talking points.

Set Strict Limits

A productive meeting adheres to its schedule and doesn’t leave a lot of room for drifting. Set a firm schedule for your meeting, including expected talking points, and be prepared to step in and cut the conversation short. If the meeting drifts too far off topic, have the participants in that discussion take it elsewhere to finalize and figure out their side.  A lot of time can be wasted on meetings if you don’t step in and control the flow. Don’t let your staff ramble on and on, but give each enough time to speak.

Action Items

The measure for how productive a meeting can be the number of action items that are assigned by the end. Action items, or tasks, help everyone identify priorities that need to be accomplished before the next meeting. They also help to set the purpose for that next meeting.

Allow for Hard Stops

People do have tasks and schedules they need to meet. A hard stop allows members of the meeting to have an out by a certain point in time, and provides a sense of urgency to close the meeting.