Time Management Tips: 9 Ways to Make Meetings Better
Traditionally, meetings have come to be thought of as the bane of every employee’s existence. After all, there’s no “real work” being done in them, right? Meetings can be a Time vortex and a time management disaster.
Who is responsible for making the meeting effective? You might say the leader – but I would say you!
How do you improve time management? If meetings are a waste of time in your workplace, you may need to revamp the way you hold meetings and how you show up for other people’s meetings. If they aren’t going to do something about it, you should. After all this is your time they are wasting too.
Meetings do have a purpose and can make your organization more productive, when done right. The elements of managing effective meetings are important time management skills. Meetings keeping teams organized and on top of solving problems, create innovation and more. How, then, do you make your gatherings more interesting and less of a burden on your team?
What are you doing to prepare for a meeting your invited to? Do you review the agenda and see what contribution is necessary. What input do you have if any? If you don’t have any input, ask you self are you really necessary at this meeting? Would the minutes and conclusions be enough information? Part of your preparation is ensuring you are needed at this meeting. A lack of preparation is wasting more of your time in the long run by sitting in useless meetings.
If there is no agenda, ask for one, it is your right. Don’t attend unless someone sends you one. You can change a culture by setting the standard.
Dedicate your attention
I was texting a friend and she texted back she was in a meeting. I was amazed that she wrote back to me to tell me that. Avoid this impulse to respond to people immediately (that is another blog all together) and challenge yourself to attend the meeting with no phone. This will be a big challenge, I know. You will have all kinds of excuses, I know. Allowing yourself to be distracted is part of the meetings problem. Bring a toy to keep you paying attention. Toys actually increase attention by 25%.
The meeting and the team deserve your attention. If you and all the other multi-taskers, dedicated your attention it will keep the meeting focused and short.
Keep it Small
Does the entire company really need to attend? Are all of these people directly involved in the issues being discussed? If not, don’t invite them. The more people you have, the longer our meeting will probably be, and the more distractions the attendees will have. Also, if they don’t need to be there, don’t waste time that they could have spent working on something more important.
Question your role in the meeting and make sure you are really needed.
Acknowledge that everyone needs to participate in some shape or form. This will create a greater connection and sense of belonging amongst the team. Don’t cut people off, talk over them or disregard their ideas. Help the facilitator to do this in an efficient and effective way if it isn’t working.
Encourage everyone to participate. Be positive and focus on their strengths instead of weakness. Welcome new ideas with a “yes, and…” approach rather than a “no, but…”. This will help all feel team members feel like they belong. Team performance increases significantly when all participate and feel a sense of trust and belonging.
If your meeting can be as short as 15 minutes, have it standing up. Stand up meetings have risen in popularity due to their efficacy and energizing qualities. If it isn’t official who said you cant stand up. Let people know you are going to stand for a bit and encourage others to stand or take a short standing break to breath energy back into a lifeless meeting.
Don’t let them eat cake
Don’t bring sweets and don’t let others eat sweets and snacks at the meeting. You don’t want people setting up camp and you don’t want them crashing after a sugar high in your meeting either.
Be Militant about Time
Do not be late and do not tolerate lateness from others. Even if you aren’t the boss, you can speak up when someone else is late. If they feel too comfortable being late they will continue to waste your time.
Make it fun
Take it upon yourself to inject some life into these meetings. Approach the meeting facilitator and discuss ways to start them off with some sort of fun engagement. If you grab people’s attention in the first 5 minutes you are already going to have a more productive meeting.
Breathe new life into business meetings by trying some new techniques and improve time management!