How many meetings do you attend in a typical week or month? How many of them do you think are necessary? Do they even achieve what they're supposed to?
Do your meetings get hijacked by the office bore who goes off at a tangent? Do they drag on, wasting everyone's time?
Let's look at the some key facts:
- On average, managers attend 60 meetings a month
- Executives spend around a third of their working week (18 hours) in meetings
- An estimated 25-50% of meeting time is wasted
- 39% of people admitted dozing off in meetings and 70% have brought other work to meetings
- There are 11 million meetings every day in the United States
- $37 billion a year is wasted on unnecessary meetings in the United States
Follow these top 5 tips to make meetings more productive:
- Have a point - Decide first what the purpose is of the meeting is and whether it's really necessary. If it's to share information, would a report be better? If it's to make a decision, can you just talk directly to the decision-maker instead? If it's to gauge opinion, what about a poll? Never hold meetings to just share information.
- Set an agenda - Be clear about what exactly will be covered in each meeting, how long it should take, and stick to timings. If there's no agenda, reschedule or cancel the meeting.
- Have a limited guest list - The more people who attend, the bigger the drop in productivity. So, be selective and invite only those who have a specific role. Make sure that key decision-makers can attend. Allow colleagues to decline your invitation if they think it's not essential to their job.
- Set ground rules - Consider banning technology, mobile phones, and refreshments so everyone remains focused and the meeting isn't stretched out. Think about holding stand-up meetings, as research shows they cut meeting time by a third.
- Conclude with action points - End each meeting with an action plan, detailing follow-up tasks, responsibilities and timescales.