How to Avoid Unproductive Meetings

how to avoid unproductive meetings

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Your employees arrive at the office ready to tend to their daily tasks. They boot up their computers and read emails as they enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Then, something appears in their inboxes that might put a dent in their productivity: a meeting request. If any of this sounds familiar, it happens daily at businesses of all sizes across the country.

Workplace meetings with no clear purpose can waste your employees’ time and prevent them from doing meaningful work needed to make your small business successful. So, what can you do? This Balboa Capital blog article explains how to avoid unproductive meetings. In addition, you will learn how to make your meetings better, shorter, and more enjoyable for your employees.

Determine a meeting agenda.

This is the most critical step in setting up a workplace meeting. First, take the time to determine why you need to hold a meeting and the desired outcome. Then, write down a brief list of topics, goals, and recommendations.

The more specific you are with your statements, the better. For example, instead of listing “sales goals,” say, “how can we increase sales by 20% by the end of the next quarter?” Clearly defining the agenda of your meeting will keep everyone on the same page, eliminate time-wasting, and maximize employee productivity.

Do not invite everyone.

Once your agenda is outlined, it is time to distribute it to your employees. Again, knowing the items covered in your meeting will help them prepare and not be caught off guard.

To keep your meeting productive, keep the number of attendees to a minimum. Invite employees responsible for the tasks or projects that will be discussed. If not, your other employees will sit there and not provide any valuable input.

Keep your meetings short.

If you have a clear agenda for your meeting, you and your key staffers will stay focused on the tasks and less time socializing with meaningless chitter-chatter. If you have your remote workers attend the meeting using video software, choose a time that works around their schedule. Set a time limit beforehand, and do your best to stick to it.

If anyone starts discussing an unrelated topic, let them know that it can be addressed later. Talking about something that has nothing to do with your meeting will frustrate your employees and cause them to lose interest in your goals. For example, you do not need to invite your company’s IT team to attend a meeting that covers sales and cash flow forecasts.

End with action items.

Whether your meeting is to provide information, gather information, solve a problem, or discuss a new business opportunity, it needs to end with action items. Take notes during your meeting and send a follow-up email that lists everyone’s responsibilities. Your employees are busy and might forget what they were supposed to do. A list of action items will remind them of their duties.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.