When project deadlines draw near, and your team needs to hustle, there are few things more distracting than meetings. Yet, meetings are essential for making sure everyone’s on the same page and the project is moving ahead in the right direction.
How can you reconcile this discrepancy? By making meetings zippy yet highly effective. These are four of our favourite ways to make sure your meetings move along quickly and efficiently.
Start with a Plan
Have an agenda and list out no more than three to five items that the team will go through. Be sure everyone has this plan beforehand, so they can schedule their presentations or discussion topics accordingly.
Set a 30-Minute Buzzer (But have it Go Off at 25 Minutes)
In the business world, you may have heard that work will expand to whatever time you give it – this means that a week-long project will easily take two weeks to complete, if that’s the deadline you give it. The same can be said about meetings. And the problem with most meetings is that people don’t even set a ending time for the meetings.
No wonder why so many meetings last for hours! Schedule a 30-minute hard stop time for your meetings, then set a timer for 25-minutes and place it on the table. This can be your mobile phone’s alarm or a kitchen timer, it really doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that when the buzzer goes off, everyone will know that it’s time to start wrapping up the meeting.
Stay on Topic
This is perhaps the biggest reason why some meetings can take lots of time – yet accomplish so little. When anyone starts going off topic, the meeting coordinator has to step in and remind everyone of the specific items that are pencilled in the plan for the day. This will cut the small talk and other off topic banter.
Of course, your team members may have legitimate issues that they would like to discuss. You need to decide if these issues are urgent enough to discuss right here and right now. If not, note it down and consider including it as a topic for discussion during the next meeting.
Keep the Snacks (for Later)
While snacks in a meeting can contribute to better engagement and bonding, if you’re looking for efficiency, skip the snacks and get straight into business. Not only will snacks (especially cakes and breads) contribute to a feeling of lethargy and sleepiness, they’re also amazing conversation starters, and will get everyone in the mood for chit chatting – definitely not what you want meeting participants doing.
Save the snacks for after the meeting. Consider giving team members a snack as a reward for a fantastic meeting, instead of as a “door gift” to get them into the meeting.
What More Engaging Meetings?
If a highly effective meeting isn’t necessary in your office (or during this period), then we’d recommend putting your efforts into making it more fun and engaging instead.
Check out previous articles in our blog for suggestions on making your weekly team discussions feel enjoyable – with team members that are located both in the office, and across the globe.