You're busy, and you don't have time to waste on unproductive meetings, but you still need to have meetings to move your business forward whether you are a start-up or a business with some longevity.
As the leader, you have a non-stop schedule, and you need to make every second count. That holds true for your employees as well.
Unfortunately, according to a survey by salary.com, 47% of American workers say attending meetings is most often a big waste of time.
So, how can you have more productive meetings that waste less time and make your employees feel empowered to do their job well?
Here are some tips describing how you can increase meeting productivity:
Be Empathetic to Your Employees' Schedules
You've given them a job to do, and it's one you want them to do well. So, it's incumbent on you to hold meetings that meet their needs and their schedules.
Take their agendas and their workloads into mind. According to American Express, the most productive time to hold a meeting is not on a Monday morning. That might sound counterintuitive. After all, it makes sense to start the work week off with planning, right?
Not so. The organizational gurus say that Tuesday morning is the best time to hold a meeting. Start the meeting with a strategic and prioritized agenda.
Let your employees work for most of the week, and if you feel you need to have a wrap up meeting, schedule it for Thursday. We suggest tying up loose ends on a Thursday because most employees are mentally out the door by Friday.
Create an Agenda
Another way to have more productive meetings is to have an agenda. Don't wing it or come unprepared. That's insulting to your employees and a waste of your time.
Stay on track with your agenda. We like adding times to each agenda item. This keeps you from getting bogged down discussing one topic when you need to hit all of your agenda items.
Make sure you've stated a purpose for your meeting. Lay out your objectives and set the tone.
Set a beginning and ending time. Stick to it.
Follow the Two Pizza Rule
This is a super way to hold more productive meetings. What does it mean?
According to Jeff Bezos from Amazon, the more people in attendance at your meeting, the less productive it will be. He says never hold a meeting where two pizzas couldn't feed the whole group.
This generally limits the number of people at your meeting to eight or less.
This rule helps productivity, and it also promotes creative thinking. Add too many people, and your group meetings take on group-think or HiPPO which means the highest paid person's opinion.
Create Action Steps
Don't leave any meeting without actionable steps. In fact, each employee in attendance should have at least one action step, or quite frankly, there was no need for them to attend.
At the end of each meeting, go around the room and ask each employee to quickly recap their action step. This helps you make sure everyone is on the same page, and it helps recap the meeting.
Doing this increases your employees' sense of accountability and buy-in. You might just find they enjoy going to meetings that are productive and provide them with action items.
We've talked about how to have more productive meetings. In the end, they must be well-planned, organized and with a start and end time. You'll greatly improve your productivity by actively involving only the amount of people absolutely necessary to work through your agenda.
You'll also only want to include the right people for your meeting. It's not always necessary to involve everyone down the line.
One last tip: use your iPhone or iPad as a meeting timer. Either use the timer or the alarm to monitor each agenda item. Consider a Pivot Stand for your iPad so it's easily accessible to start and stop.
Have you fine-tuned your company's business meetings? Do you have tips for how to have more productive meetings? If so, we'd love to hear them. Please share below!