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How to Maximize Meetings and Stop Wasting Time

Meetings can be the most time-consuming part of your work day. In fact, you might attend as many as 62 meetings this month, reports Atlassian. While some meetings are essential and solve problems, generate ideas or improve relationships, others simply waste your time, so learn how to maximize meetings and become more productive.

1

Discern if you Need to Attend

Before you attend a meeting, ask for details about its purpose and decide if attending the meeting is essential. For example, you might be able to skip a brainstorming session for a different department, but you should attend a meeting that preps everyone in the company for the launch of your company's native app.

2

Clarify the Meeting’s Purpose

Always ask the meeting organizer for details about the meeting’s topic and purpose. With this information, you can prepare relevant data or think through your opinion beforehand, which reduces wasted time during the meeting.

3

Choose Alternative Communication Outlets

If possible, skip the meeting and deliver information, brainstorm ideas or solve a problem via email, a phone call or a memo. You’ll save time as you accomplish the meeting’s goal.

4

Be Prepared to Contribute

With the meeting’s agenda in hand, prepare to share your opinion or perspective. While you don’t want to introduce an off-topic subject, you certainly want to contribute and maximize rather than waste your time.

5

Start on Time

Whether you’re in charge of the meeting or an attendee, respect your co-workers’ time. Arrive early and be prepared to contribute.

6

Follow the Agenda

The meeting’s agenda includes key points to discuss, so stay focused on the main topics, minimize off-topic discussions or distractions and increase the likelihood that your team will stay on track.

7

Choose an Effective Moderator

A meeting moderator or facilitator will maintain order, reign in off-topics and ensure everyone follows the agenda. Choose a moderator who’s skilled at these tasks.

8

Stand

Standing can boost brain power, creativity and energy. You may also want to stand instead of sit to encourage meeting participants to focus on the topic and not prolong the discussion.

9

Switch Seats

Creatures of habit, most people choose the same seat even when they have a choice of where to sit. Consider assigning seats at your next meeting or change the room’s furniture layout as you force co-workers out of their comfort zone and improve creativity and attentiveness.

10

Limit Distractions

Turn off your phones, close the door and address other common distractions to keep the meeting and your co-workers on task.

11

Resist Multitasking

Maybe you think you can answer email, view your company’s new promotional video or send a quick text while you listen to the meeting’s presenter. Multitasking steals your attention, distracts you from participating and may prolong the meeting as your co-workers wait for you to share.

12

Listen

Even if you have a different perspective or don’t agree with the discussion, listen and show respect. You may need to table certain discussions for a later time if tempers or emotions flare, but always listen and invite open, honest communication.

13

Brainstorm Future Meeting Ideas

Your team may bring up a topic that’s important but not relevant to this meeting’s topic. Add the topic to a master list, and plan to discuss it at another time.

14

Serve Brain Boosting Snacks

Soda, chips and donuts sap energy and make meeting participants sluggish. Provide brain boosting snacks like a fruit or veggie tray and water as you boost everyone’s energy, memory and focus.

15

Keep it Short

Long meetings actually decrease productivity, brainstorming and decision making capabilities. Schedule short meetings to help attendees think on their feet and move the process along.

16

Set a Firm End Time

Without a firm end time, a meeting may keep going indefinitely. Prolonged meetings waste time and prevent co-workers from accomplishing their other responsibilities. Set a firm end time and stick to it. Even better, end early if possible.

17

Schedule Social Time

If you find that meetings ramble because everyone chats, schedule time during the day or after work to socialize. This tip also works when you meet new clients and want to get to know each other before you start working on a project.

18

Cancel if Necessary

During the days leading up to the meeting, you may discover that a key participant needs additional time to prepare a presentation or that the meeting’s purpose has been solved already. Cancel the meeting so you don’t waste anyone’s time.

This year, you can maximize your meetings and stop wasting time. Use these tips to help you become more productive as you attend or schedule meetings in your workplace.

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Page last edited Feb 01, 2018 History

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