Meetings are essential for the management and team members to communicate and strategize together. It gives the subordinates the space to share their opinion. Nevertheless, you cannot ignore the drawbacks of frequent meetings on productivity.
You cannot eliminate the meetings from the schedule as there is no alternative to them. However, some small measures can help you save the time of everyone involved. Your subordinates will appreciate the 15 minutes brief meetings more than an hour-long, unnecessary discussion on something irrelevant.
Here are some tips for the managers and team leaders to shorten the meeting time while communicating effectively.
Send the Agendas
Save some time for everyone by sharing the agenda before the meeting. You need to set clear and concise goals for the meeting before sharing it with everyone. It should mention the topic of discussion and the expected outcome.
You will have the list of resources in hand before the meetings. It will give the members to prepare themselves for the meeting. The time mentioned on the agenda sheet will ensure no one is late.
The team meetings with 10-15 members are a waste of time for numerous reasons. Majority of the agendas doesn’t involve even half of the population. Add the time it takes to take input from so many people.
A meeting with 4-8 people is enough at a time to reduce wastage of combined productive hours. You can talk to the people individually to save time and create strong personal relationships. Many employees might feel comfortable than sharing their ideas in front of many people.
Time Is Critical
You need to schedule a meeting with fixed timings. It will help the participants to prepare and set the schedule for the meeting in an efficient manner. Also, make sure everything stays on the fixed time.
Always start and end the meeting on time. It is time to speed up the discussion if there is no time left. You may have to cut short the meetings if it takes more time than scheduled.
Make Some Investment
Many project management tools in the market help the team member communicate and collaborate. These tools eliminate the meetings for some simple discussions. They provide features such as task allocation and project mapping.
Managers can keep track of the project through the software alone. There is no need to hold meetings for discussions, and resource availability as these are all available in the app. You can take very bad credit loans with no guarantor and no broker to cover the cost of the software.
Give Some Homework in Advance
Ask the participants to prepare for the meetings by giving them some work in advance. If you want some suggestions, explain the suggestion in the email. This will make sure there is minimal time spent in thinking on the spot.
Many times the setup for presentation is done during the meeting hours. This is a serious waste of time for everyone involved. Ask the presenting members to make the preparation and find the resources before the meeting starts.
Avoid the Distractions
Mobile phones can be distracting for the members in the meeting and frustrating for the speaker. You should ask everyone to silent their mobile phones and put them on the table or separate room. Do not distribute the reports before the meetings as they might distract people and leave them off-track.
Stick to the Topic
As mentioned above, you need to state a clear agenda and the topics of discussion for the meeting. There is no need to derail from the discussion with some irrelevant topic. Ask everyone to remain on the original agenda if the topic seems to divert.
You will find many people in the conference room who hijack the meetings for their concerns. There is no need to stay quiet and let them take control of the limited time. Ask them to leave the topic for discussion on some other day in a polite manner.
Do Not Schedule Long Meetings
It is very rare for a meeting to end earlier than the scheduled time. Many people often ignore this fact and schedule the meetings with some cushion time. If the meeting should take only 15 minutes, do not allocate an hour for it.
Do not think the meeting will not take this long. It’s just on the paper. Majority of the meetings take the time every minute of the allotted time regardless of the productive material. Moreover, it may take some additional time to disrupt the schedule for everyone completely.
Documentation is extremely important in the team meetings to note down the discussion and great ideas. You cannot rely on the brain to save every important sentence in memory. Many people waste time afterwards remembering the exact order of discussion.
Another important factor to note is the intuitive ideas that were sent to the bin because of some constraint. You can use them in future if they seem to return some great results. If not notes, you can record the meetings for future reference.
To sum up, you can reduce the meeting hours with some efforts in planning and preparation. It is important since it affects the productivity and flow of operations. Many managers ignore the time and employees have to spend extra hours in the office covering for it.