In the workplace, time is of the essence, and meetings can be the ultimate timewaster. How can you avoid wasting time and run the most efficient meetings possible?
- Start and finish the meeting on time. If there's more to consider, plan the appropriate follow-up actions or schedule another meeting.
- At the close of the meeting, ask if participants are comfortable with the outcomes.
- Make sure all meeting participants know that you expect them to be on time and prepared to discuss their agenda items.
- Encourage everyone to speak up. Quieter people may have valuable contributions, but they may need some encouragement to share them.
- Provide a detailed agenda for each meeting. It should include topics for and the purpose of discussion, as well as a discussion leader and time allotment for each topic. Distribute the agenda a couple of days before the meeting so that meeting participants have time to prepare.
- Assign someone to take notes in each meeting. That way, decisions and follow-up action items are documented and can be circulated to the meeting's participants.
- Determine which meetings are really necessary. If the objective of a meeting is to simply update others about ongoing projects, it might make more sense to send a memo or group e-mail, or to post the information on your company's computer network. However, for in-depth discussions, meetings generally work best.
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