5 Enemies of Productivity in Meetings and How to Overcome Them

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Uninspired meeting participantMeetings are often a dreaded thing to pop up in your calendar; what could be more boring than being stuck in a little office cell with a bunch of other people who don’t really want to be there? Sure, you may be there for a reason; your meeting may even have a purpose, but the chances of you reaching a point where you talk about that original purpose are low. In fact, there are many reasons that might even lead to you never getting to talk about what you intended to. This article discusses a few of them…

The Problem: The meeting is your chance to raise any issues

You might think that doesn’t really sound like a problem, but allow me to explain why it most definitely is; every single person in your meeting will have been saving issues they want to talk about. Every person could have multiple issues to discuss, and every issue could take a long time to resolve. That leads to the entire designated meeting time being absorbed by discussions which aren’t related to the purpose of the meeting. So ultimately your meeting runs over time, disrupting your whole work day. Disaster!

The Solution:

Make a meeting agenda and stick to it. Be strict and make it clear other issues may be better dealt with other means of collaboration.

The Problem: You don’t really need to be there

A meeting may require various departments to be involved so everyone can have a say and be given actions from the meeting; but if you’re in the marketing department you might not need to hear a big, long discussion between the Managing Director and the Finance Director, but for some reason, meeting etiquette requires you to sit through it anyway.

The Solution:

Split your meeting into sections so some people can leave and continue with their work if that section is not relevant to their role. It will increase productivity and morale if people feel their time is no longer being wasted. If there are small amounts of information people may have missed, ask someone to keep meeting minutes and send them to everyone involved.

The Problem: Your meeting attendees are uninspired

It’s no surprise; few people want to spend hours in a grey room staring at a flip-chart. Acknowledge the fact that unless you’re announcing a new free-doughnuts for workers scheme that no one wants to be in that room.

The Solution:

Mix it up a bit, if at all possible have your meetings somewhere much more exciting – dinner meetings are always enjoyable if your company budget allows for it. Alternatively meetings over coffee are good for small groups – you could even book a function room somewhere such as a hotel and take part in a quick team building activity afterwards as a reward; paintball anyone?

The Problem: It’s demotivating if your voice isn’t heard

Everyone has something to say, and everyone has something to contribute, or else they’re not necessary to the meeting. The problem is, as we know, some people are much more confident than others and can end up dominating the meeting, whereas the quieter sorts may never get a chance to speak.

The Solution:

Given the chance, anyone can come up with a brilliant idea, even the quietest and meekest! By not giving these people a chance to speak their views on the situation you may be passing up ideas and innovations that could change the way your company works. At the end of every discussion point in the meeting, make sure you ask each person if they have anything to contribute.

The Problem: Meetings are always too long

Due to a combination of the reasons above, and simply because it is their nature, meeting are always too long. Even if there’s a plan for the meeting, people mumble around points and get carried away, leading to the loss of valuable working time for the whole team.

The Solution:

First of all, instead of scheduling the meeting to run for at least 1 hour, consider using 45 minutes as the new default. If you’re running the meeting look through your agenda and make a few notes about each point. Break down your notes into problems, solutions and actions; using these, first explain the problem to your team, and then explain the possible solutions. Discuss the best course of action, and then designate tasks out to make that solution happen. It’s as simple as that.

It’s true that there’s no magic solution to making meetings amazing, but by following these tips, with considerable help from the Meetin.gs app you’re going to make your life a lot easier and more productive!

About the Guest Author

Kirstie is a marketing executive at Webtise, specialists in Magento design and development based on the Wirral. You can find her on Google+.

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