It’s no secret that meetings can be a source of irritation.  Often running far longer than necessary, they’re perceived as time-wasting bores that keep people from doing what they’re in the office to do – work. It’s often the case that the same handful of people dominate the proceedings.  The waters can be muddied by elaborate deviations from agenda items and all too soon, eyes glaze over. But there’s a better way to do meetings.  Here we offer veterans of the meeting wars 7 tips for faster, more productive meetings.

1. Focus.

Chose a brief, focused agenda which avoids trying to cover too much ground.  Maintaining focus means addressing only those action items for which team consultation is required.  Others can be discussed in emails and one-on-one meetings. Increased focus also minimizes the potential for meandering discussions.

2. Key people only.

Keeping your meeting small reduces the chance for prolonged introductions.  People also tend to come in, sit down and waste less time checking in with colleagues. Small group meetings allow for more productive discussion and for all voices to be heard.  Big meetings have their place, but whenever possible, limiting your meetings to key people is a winning strategy.

3. Preparation.

Walking into your meeting ready to get the job done means preparation.  Key to making your preparation work for you is providing other meeting attendees with the theme of the meeting and its objective, allowing them to come prepared, too. Circulate the action items you want to cover with a brief, focused agenda, so everyone’s on the same page.

4. Move the agenda along.

While keeping your agenda focused is a key strategy for meetings which are faster and more productive, moving that agenda along is one of the most pivotal of our 7 tips. Agendas are there to shape your meeting with intentionality and purpose.  When vigilance is applied, you’ll get out of there faster, with much more done.

5. Distractions.

The best laid plans of busy people are often littered with distractions.  These can derail your efficiencies and thus, the quality and productivity of your meeting. All mobile devices should be turned off when attendees arrive.  This is one of the most important things you can do to limit distractions.  Ensure that your meetings are scheduled at a time when people aren’t thinking ahead to lunch, or what they’ll be doing after work.

6. Environment.

It matters where you hold your meetings.  Dimly-lit rooms can cause drowsiness, as well as comfortable chairs.  Sometimes, small team meetings are best held in a quiet corner of the office, standing.  This limits unnecessary chatter and maintains focus.

7. The right time.

As alluded to in the previous tip, the time of day can hurt your ability to run an efficient meeting.  Early morning, once everyone has their coffee, is the best time of day for meetings.  People are fresh, ready to work and aren’t distracted by a growling stomach, or evening plans. Incentive Travel Group brings your organization’s travel incentives outsourced logistical excellence.

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