We all need to get our information around the office, to our customers and clients, but at what expense are we doing this? How often do we put our teams and clients through an unnecessary ritual because it makes ‘us’ look productive?

The majority of business meetings are simple in nature, you have an agenda, minutes are taken and distributed in a timely manner and everyone knows what the outcome is and what actions they need to undertake in plenty of time for the next meeting.

We all know it can be very difficult to maintain focus in a meeting if you only get to speak for 5 minutes and the remainder of the time you are either actively engaged in listening to others, or you are thinking about the football, what you are going to do on the weekend, or all the work sitting on your desk that you should be doing and this is the 3rd meeting this week.

Meetings can be productive if they are prepared for appropriately; don’t have them for the sake of having them.

Below are my tips for a productive meeting, what other suggestions would you make?  Leave me a comment below.

EA for a Day’s top meeting tips

  1. The right venue, makes all the difference, don’t try to cram 10 people around a table at your favourite coffee shop, but this could be perfect for a 1:1 meeting with a client.
  2. Know your audience, be aware of who your attendees are, the roles they carry out, are they required to spend a whole hour in the meeting or can they just be called in at the relevant time?
  3. Prepare an agenda and distribute at least a week in advance, this gives attendees time to prepare, it makes their contribution meaningful and gives the minute|note taker a point of reference.
  4. Take minutes of actions, decisions, outcomes and follow ups, don’t write word for word.  Use bullet points not paragraphs and make sure you put due dates for when an action is due and who is responsible.
  5. Avoid inviting people to your meeting just ‘for their info’, it is a waste of their time and totally unproductive, add them to your minute distribution list instead and if they have any questions, they will follow-up appropriately.
  6. Have an effective chairperson, don’t allow people to waffle.  While it might be lovely to hear all about the business dinner with Betty-Sue, attendees would just like to know the outcomes not what everyone had for dinner.  If a meeting is scheduled for 1 hour, don’t go over your time.  Be considerate of your attendees, allow them to leave on time, their time is just as valuable as yours.
  7. Distribute your minutes within 24 hours, this keeps everything fresh, no one wants to look over something from a meeting 3 weeks earlier.

 Disclaimer: Note, these tips are not suitable for legal or board meetings, however the basic principles still apply.