More efficient team meetings – Getting results while keeping it short

I am guilty of every bad action I mention here and am being open minded to my own thinking below that won’t be comfortable at first but will produce results… which will make my life better. Want to try and be more productive with your day too?

We have a few issues these days with conference room meetings.

Everyone shows up with their notebooks so they can multi task

Everyone has meetings right before/after which means they are generally late showing up and would rather do the meeting as a dial in from their office.

Speakers are trying to keep meetings fluid and gather ideas brought up

Depending on the office and people’s responsibility, there will be an occasional person in a meeting that is working across projects. Expect them to have an eye on their notebook. Others need to stop thinking about their social media posts and start getting engaged!

Admittedly, there are meetings that have to happen as dial ins for people in other city, states and countries. These guidelines apply for them too, but it will be harder for them to stick to the rules since they don’t have peer pressure in the room.

I have seen people’s ideas of allowance coins or points of importance for being able to call meetings. I have also seen where upper management wants extensive minute-by-minute meeting plans to make sure the meeting was well thought out. I do not agree with wrapping meetings in a blanket of negativity or limits. I do agree that meetings need to be thought through and encouraged. A well run meeting produces more results than a 50 email thread. A meeting needs to be a presentation that requires others to understand or give an opinion.

My ‘meetings’ thoughts here are ideas pulled from a couple different groups I have observed, into a single possible solution.

What is important is getting to the point, on time, and having everyone involved. The person who is calling the meeting should know where they want to get to by the end. Presentations are easier to set a starting/ending while discussions are more open ended to what makes it a success. Discussions need a clear statement up front why people are being asked for their time.

PowerPoints for the discussion should only be sent out in advance if it is expected that people will have to prepare in advance. History shows us that sending presentation materials in advance of a meeting leads to attendees printing or a desire to follow along on their own devices, usually jumping ahead and disrupting the flow.

Meetings need to have good notes taken for everyone’s later reference. It should not be expected that the speaker will keep the meeting moving along if they have to take notes. Attendees should not be expected to take notes, they should feel comfortable they will have a copy of what was discussed right after the meeting. There may be some attendees that insist they be able to electronically annotate their own copy of the documents. The meeting notes can be tweaked over a few meetings to make those attendees more comfortable with the after-meeting deliverable so they won’t have to take their own notes ongoing. As well, some note takers will self correct as they find they are not as engaged in the discussion as the rest of their peers in the room.

Hard to do if people are involved in multiple projects, but where possible, have open time before/after meetings so attendees have time to mentally prep going in and out of meetings. As well, it is easier to arrive in meetings on time if everyone isn’t rushed from room to room. This can cut down on the personal chatter at the beginning of the meetings since they got that out of the way on the trip to the meeting room.

Many people are reading this saying “Yea, don’t we wish”. Until you make an attempt, it will never become a reality. Someone has to step up, why not it be you?! As your meetings become the ones that get things accomplished, others will follow.