4 Tips to Keep Meetings Productive

The dreaded 8AM, Monday morning meeting… and Tuesday morning meeting. And Wednesdays, sometimes even Thursdays, too. Before you know it, it’s Friday and you’ve done nothing but sit in meetings all week, leaving you zero time to actually be productive.

Meetings can certainly be beneficial to your company, as long as they’re organized and run correctly. Here are 4 ways to keep things moving and get the most out of your meetings.

Have an Agenda
One person should be in charge of organizing meeting topics into a document, and distributing to participants prior to the meeting. Try to give the agenda out at least an hour before the meeting, so that attendees can come prepared with the necessary info to keep the meeting running smoothly. Email it beforehand, but come to the meeting armed with printed copies, as well.

Role Call
Make sure the key players are able to attend your meeting. When putting together the agenda, prioritize each discussion item, and note which employees are crucial to the discussion. Compare everyone’s calendars and see that the necessary people are able to make it to the meeting.

Stay on Task
Sometimes this is easier said than done. I know it’s amusing to get off track and goof off with your co-workers but, really – it’s not fun. Some people have a million things to do, and sitting in a 2-hour meeting that was supposed to end an hour ago, is not on their priority list. As a meeting attendee, disconnect yourself from anything that will distract you (looking at you, Facebook). And that handy little agenda that was passed out before the meeting? Stick to it, and save the chit chat for happy hour.

Set a Time Limit
Announce it at the beginning of the meeting. Whoever is leading the meeting needs make it clear that you have one hour to get through everything, and keep a sharp eye on the clock at all times. Of course some items are going to boil over into a lengthy discussion, and that’s okay; but make up for time lost by speeding up other items.

Keeping meetings productive can be a struggle, but the right organization ahead of time should keep everyone on track. What are your tricks for staying on task during meetings?