How To Have more Productive Office Meetings
It is a universal truth that people struggle to keep awake during office meetings. Off late it is so prevalent that it has now become a punchline for office jokes, indicating endless hours of poorly utilized time, useless presentations and lost productivity. However, the purpose of holding meetings was never so. If conducted well, meetings intend to utilize the skills of the people present in the room to make important decisions quicker and create unique new ideas which can drive the business forward.
Like emails, official calls and mediocre coffee, meetings have always been considered the necessary evil in most workplaces. Here are four tips for creating more of the latter.
- State objective
It is important to state the objective and goal of the meeting at the very beginning itself. This ensures that you have a clearer understanding of what the meeting is for and what it entails. It is equally important to be respectful of all the employees attending the meeting by ensuring that all meetings begin and ends on time. Meetings that continue for too long tends to make people lose their concentration, allowing them to drift off thereby missing vital points made during the meetings.Thus, keeping meetings concise and short, till up to 15 mins works best.
Keeping meetings short, concise and within the timeframe of 15-18 minutes acts as a helpful constraint for presenters to reorganize their thoughts. In addition to this, it has also been scientifically proven that 10-18 minutes is how long most people can pay attention before drifting off.
- Turn those chairs away and stand:
The ‘Stand-up’ meeting has started to mean a lot more than just a meeting where everyone is standing. It now also is a way of organizing daily short meetings where the members can be briefed about the latest happenings in the company. However, the main concept behind this type of meeting is that the more uncomfortable everyone is, the faster the meeting will go. In addition to this, study shows that standing up leads to higher levels of excitement especially during the creative process, allowing for greater collaborative ideas.
- Unplug your laptop, ppts and all technologies
A research conducted at Princeton University studying the note-taking habits of students revealed that those who took notes by hand rather than in their laptops had a clearer and quicker conceptual recall than the others signifying that those who took notes by hand had a better understanding of the concepts they were shown. Moreover, whenever employees present power-point presentations in a meeting, people are often stuck listening to the presenter read out loud entire slideshows. This, defeats the purpose of using power-point as a great visual tool, instead, Unplugging all laptops and technologies during the brief 15 minutes meetings allows a scope for higher factual and conceptual recall that ensures that everyone attending the meeting know and understand concepts mentionedduring the meeting. Furthermore, technologies like laptops and mobile phones provide a gateway for distraction so it’s best to avoid them during meetings.
- Establish D.R.I
It is widely believed that one of the best ways to end a meeting productively is by assigning responsibilities for tasks and decisions. Doing so ensures that every individual is assigned a task, i.e, they become Directly Responsible Individuals (D.R.Is). This provides public accountability for individuals to make sure that clear, organized instructions are performed by each members of the team and the project or task is correctly executed.
Great meeting occurs around the presence of great leaders and it is not always easy to ensure things are moving forwards in a meeting rather than backwards. However, someone needs to take responsibility if the running meeting turns unproductive. Thus, once you realise and set your standards for efficient, effective and entertaining meetings, your team will surely follow- turning dreadful meetings into something to look forward to in a day.