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5 Tips to Keep Your Meetings Short

5 Tips to Keep Your Meetings Short

How much time are you and your employees spending in unproductive meetings each week? You may be surprised. According to one survey of 1,945 workers, approximately 6% of workers said they spend 10 hours or more in unproductive meetings each week. This is 25% of their 40-hour workweek. The survey also found that 15% of workers spend up to five to 10 hours each week in unproductive meetings, 34% spend two to five hours, and 34% spend at least one to two hours each week in unproductive meetings. 

Wasted time isn’t the only downside to long and unproductive meetings. Doodle’s 2019 State of Meetings Report states that poorly organized meetings will cost companies up to $399 billion in the United States alone.

What can you do to keep meetings short, organized, and productive? Here are five tips to help. 

1. Create an Agenda

An agenda is one of your greatest tools for a productive and organized meeting. It can help you keep your discussion on point and ensure you discuss all important topics. Additionally, you can use an agenda to track your time and if your agenda is short and only a few items are listed, it can help you determine if a meeting is absolutely necessary or if an email or memo is a better solution. 

2. Limit the Size of Your Meeting

Don’t invite just anyone to your meetings. Remember that the more people who attend your meetings, the more distractions, comments, and questions you will have to work through. Make sure that you invite only those who need to come to the meeting and who will benefit most from spending time there. 

3. Consider Email

If you don’t have a lot of discussion points or you simply want to meet to relay information to your team, consider sending an email. This can still allow the information to be presented but it doesn’t take your entire team time away from their desk. While an email may not be the solution every time, it should be something you consider. 

4. Use a Timer

When you have a group of individuals in the room, it is easy to become distracted. You may get caught up answering a single question, get lost on a tangent, lose focus of the meeting’s purpose, etc. To help you keep the meetings short, use a timer. Try to keep your meetings to 30 minutes or less. If this is not possible, then aim for an hour or less. When your timer goes off, wrap up the meeting and let your employees get back to their work. 

5. Be Prompt

Do your employees slowly wander into the conference room? Do you typically start the meeting five or 10 minutes late? This is wasted time that over several weeks or months, will add up. To avoid this, be prompt and start on time. Arrive early to your meeting to set up and make sure all technology is working. You should also have an agenda printed or accessible to all attendees. You may find that the first few meetings are a little sparse at the beginning but your employees will quickly learn that you start on time and that being late is no longer acceptable. 

By keeping your meetings short and concise, you will improve productivity in the workplace. Your employees will no longer have that dreaded look on their faces as they walk into the conference room and you will feel more satisfied at the end of these gatherings.