How Productive Are Your Meetings?

How Productive Are Your Meetings?

Are your meetings even less productive now that we are living and working in a virtual world? Being in a home office is not making our work life any easier or any more efficient! So let me share the tips to help you have more productive meetings whether in person or remote.

To start having more productive team meetings you start with the Why, the What, the Who, the Where, the When and the How!

THE WHY: Every meeting should start with asking why are we having this meeting?   In my opinion there are three very important reasons for meetings:

  • To make a decision
  • To brainstorm an idea or innovate
  • Solve a problem

If your meeting is for something other than these three reasons, I ask you to consider the time, energy, resources and brain power that will be used and then decide if you should still proceed with the meeting. Most often alternative reasons are to present information or give a status update. If your reason is to present information how can you maximize the time with your team? The typical attention span is approximately 10-15minutes. How will you keep everyone engaged while presenting? One suggestion is to send your slides ahead of time so team members can come prepared with questions and be ready to engage in robust dialogue.   If your reason is simply to give a status update, can you send an email, write it on a virtual board or real whiteboard and take a picture? If no dialogue, debate or decisions need to be made…maybe you shouldn’t have the meeting.

THE WHAT: Start every meeting asking ‘what do we need to accomplish during this meeting’. Once you know what you need to accomplish send out an agenda in advance with the objectives of the meeting and your expectations of the team members. If you don’t normally, start doing it now! Your agenda is your compass for the meeting. It has been proven that taking the time and thought to create an agenda has the potential to improve the productivity of your meeting by 37%! Also, please don’t forget that every meeting can be an opportunity to continue building relationships among the team members especially while remote. Consider starting with a well thought out question or an icebreaker.

THE WHO: Who should be at this meeting? Just because someone can be at the meeting doesn’t mean they should! What is the role of each of the team members attending? Have you assigned a facilitator (hint: maybe it shouldn’t be you!) Who will be responsible for taking notes, summarizing decisions and assigned action steps and disseminating this information timely and efficiently? As an FYI, Jeff Bezos says if you can’t feed everyone at the meeting with two pizzas then you probably have too many people at the meeting!

THE WHEN: This is a much more important decision than many people think. Here is why, when people have to leave what they are doing to attend your meeting there are real ‘costs’. Loss in continuity of thought, the time it takes to get back into the groove on the project they were working on before your meeting and frustration by team members who don’t have the time to do their core work are just a few. Lastly, Consider how long do you really need for this meeting and starting and ending on time. Be a good role model and respectful of others. Nearly 40% of meetings at large companies start late…what does that cost you?

THE WHERE: At the time of this writing…virtually of course!

THE HOW: Quite a few questions fall into this category. How will you keep them engaged, if remote how will you capture whiteboard and chat comments and how will you hold people accountable for next steps? Don’t end your meeting before you get clarity on WWDWBW…Who Will DO What By When?

I hope you will use these tips to start having more productive meetings immediately!

Always striving to give you my best,


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