Stop Wasting Time: Streamline Your Meetings

August 18, 2016

When creating a project, the best thing you can do is bring a group of creatives into the same room, where they can brainstorm to their heart’s content.

But meetings are notorious for going off-track. They’re the places where businesses become the least productive. If done right though, they can be the areas where the most valuable work is completed. The trick is knowing how to hold a meeting right.

Set the agenda ahead of time

One person should be responsible for leading the meeting and making sure everyone has a copy of the action plan before the meeting even starts. That way, all attendees can wrap their heads around the orders of proceedings and have the opportunity to raise questions. Plus, it will make the time in the meeting flow smoother as everyone understands what’s going on.

Let everyone know how they need to participate

There are three types of meetings. Number one is the one where information is conveyed. These are the easiest to manage, as there is generally just one person speaking to the group. The second one involves planning and assigning tasks. This requires a little more audience participation.

The last type is a meeting that involves everyone to participate in generating ideas. This is the most labour-intense meeting for all involved and the most likely to get off track.

The key is to prime everyone beforehand on what kind of meeting they will be participating in. This way, they’ll be able to prepare their ideas and be on track for productivity.

Keep on top of time

Meetings shouldn’t be any shorter or longer than they need to be. Block out a period of time for the meeting, but be flexible. Perhaps you genuinely need more time to flesh out an interesting idea. In this case, continue the meeting. But if you find you don’t need the full 30-minute block, don’t try to fill in time. Simply end the meeting there.

That said, it’s important everyone stays on track. If something interesting but irrelevant comes up, write it down but don’t waste energy focussing on it yet.

What happens next?

Don’t finish a meeting unless you have a clear action plan for the future. When everyone has tasks to complete, they’ll feel like the meeting was a raging success – and not a waste of their time.