4 Ways to Have More Productive Meetings

Wired2 Perform meetings

According to a Harvard Business Review survey from 182 senior managers in various industries, 65% said meetings keep them from completing their work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

Your colleagues may casually say how dreadful a lengthy a meeting was. We may crack a joke and forget about it, but imagine a meeting of such caliber repeating almost on a daily or weekly basis where the same conclusion is addressed in different ways. No decision is drawn and nothing new comes out of it. If you observe such meetings, you may notice that not every participant is fully engaged in the discussion. Some may be typing away on the laptop, browsing social media, or have to excuse themselves to answer client calls every few minutes. For the past couple of decades, people have been having a love-hate feeling about meetings. It would be wrong if I say that meetings do not enable collaboration, creativity, and new ideas. Organization to organization, department to department all meeting structures vary. Generally, meetings are up to the host to decide on a productive agenda and time for that meeting to do justice to the participants who sacrifice their focus time from their solo work to invest and prepare for that meeting.

Let's take a look at how some proven methods can be adapted to our meetings:

1.The Purpose of The Meeting

First and foremost, the meeting host needs to ask themselves why I have this meeting and what we are trying to achieve by having these meetings. Once you realize the 'Why' then it's time to think of a meeting plan. And by plan, it doesn't mean that you need to get to a drawing board and spend time. Still, For a meeting to be driven efficiently and stick to the meeting's time and purpose, the meeting host to set clear expectations and objectives for the meeting, and what better way to do it than sharing an agenda? An agenda is beneficial, especially when it comes to collaborating on it realtime. If the hosts creates agenda with how much time is assigned, topics, and description, it can help keep the meeting on track and productive.

Following is a realtime collaboration agenda example within the Wired2Perform app. You would notice the agenda items having a name, description, assignee, and a timer to help keep track of the time.

Email view of the agenda sent to all the participants.

2. Analyzing Meeting Data and Gathering Feedback

As a team, it is essential to discuss how meetings are conducted within the organization and understand if the meetings held are driving the organization on the right path. Data on how many meetings an organization met in the last 30 days, number of hours spent on meetings, number of companies met and number of unique people met are some of the data an organization could look into to know how productive their meetings are. This data will help you predict and make decisions on how long a meeting could take place in the future or cancel meetings that don't contribute in a significant way. Thankfully, analytics tools like ours are available in the modern-day and age, unlike a decade ago. If the meeting host syncs his/her Google or Microsoft Calendar to Wired2Perform, the meeting dashboards will be updated automatically and generate graphs and essential stats.

3. Cut Down on Unwanted Meetings

At the beginning of a project, you may realize that meetings are driving a project on the right path and expediting the work that needs to be completed, but a while you may realize that later on it may not be necessary but rather the time should be spent on achieving the objectives that were ironed out to be completed on time. Therefore if there is no major update on whatever topic you want to have a meeting on, don't have it. It is much better to give that focus time for the participants. However, ensure that straightforward tasks are defined, due dates are given, and people responsible are assigned to those tasks. To avoid being entirely in the dark, use our task management tool to organize these tasks and the task status to be updated by the responsible person; that way, everyone in the team is updated. It enables the meeting participants to assign tasks and takedown realtime meeting notes so that all the meeting participants are on one page and the discussion points. These notes can be found at any time in your Wired2Perform calendar, making it easy for teams to decide when to have the next meeting based on completed tasks and meeting notes.

4. Make Meetings More Interactive

You may have observed that your typical meetings may revolve around people sitting around a desk and maybe having slides on the projector, and you go over boring charts. Well, depending on the meeting, you can make discussions more lively by making them interactive. Some ways in which you can do it to use Wired2perform's notes.

Generally, meetings should happen for one of three reasons where. The first reason is to create a forum to create opportunities for individuals to share their values, ideas, experiences, and stories to progress towards a goal or define the plan itself. This forum is well planned out or more casual. The second reason to have a meeting is to decide to create direction for the organization or solve a problem. The third reason is to build team spirit, strength, and unity, making sense of togetherness and motivation for teams to perform as one. Organizations must embed these three reasons into the organizational culture so that every contributor will know when to have a meeting, when not to have a meeting, and use the right tools to succeed.

Author: Sanjeeva Samarawira