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5 Tips For Making Business Meetings More Productive

 Whether you're a senior manager or an entry-level employee, you have probably attended a few meetings in your career, which means you might have reached the same conclusion as many people: meetings are mostly pointless!

Making Business Meetings More Productive

In theory, gathering employees to relay information and discuss the company's plans seems like a worthwhile endeavor.However, the fact of the matter is most people find meetings to be unproductive, ineffective, and unnecessary. Those are three words you do not want to be used to describe any portion of the workday, let alone one where you're taking up the time of most of your company's workers.

So, how do you ensure the meetings you host are useful? This guide has some great tips to get you on the right track.

Have the right space

Most businesses will have at least one conference room solely dedicated to meetings, but you need to ensure this room is equipped properly. No one wants to spend their time fiddling with an HDMI cable to get their PowerPoint presentation started. It would be similarly disruptive if someone had to get up in the middle just to get a glass of water. Whether you're dealing with a presentation on a computer, a whiteboard and marker, small or large groups, you need to ensure the meeting room complements the agenda.

If you're part of a small company that doesn't have a dedicated space, or your existing space is not well-equipped, you might want to book meeting room with an external service provider.These available rooms are often more luxurious and can create a sense of grandiosity. While people might dislike meetings, they enjoy extravagance, and this puts them 'in the room where it happens,' so to speak.

Booking an external meeting room has another benefit as well. As you only have the room for a limited time slot, people would be more motivated to make their points quickly and save money. It's an indirect way of cutting out idle chit-chat.

Manage meeting times more concisely

Regardless of whether you're booking a space or using a room the company owns, you must ensure every minute of the meeting is being utilized well. After all, time is money, and the more time spent in a meeting, the less time the employees spend doing the job you hired them for. In fact, a study in the Harvard Business Review said that 70% of managers found meetings to be unproductive, and one of the causes for this was the lack of participant preparation.

One way of ensuring productivity is by sending out a memo that details the schedule beforehand. It may seem like an obvious step, but many conferences start with no clear sense of purpose. This gives the participants a chance to prepare points or questions and determine what issues they'd like to bring up.

Another technique used in various businesses is to allot a specific time to the meeting. If everyone in the room knows they can only discuss the issue for an hour at most, it will motivate them to make their points concise. This time limit also allows employees to plan the rest of their workday accordingly and can help ensure no work is delayed until the next day.

Have actionable follow-up items

Many meetings feel pointless because they have no real consequences for the business. The best way to avoid this and inadvertently trim out unnecessary dialogue is by having follow-ups on actionable items from the meeting.

In the best-case scenario, you would have one employee dedicated to recording the minutes of the meeting. This would allow you to review which responsibilities were allotted to which team member and to touch base with them after an appropriate amount of time. It would be in your best interest to communicate goals and deadlines for the employees at your company during these meetings and use follow-ups to ensure those tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Handle note-taking yourself

If you think back to your school days, you might remember the unusually smart kid. There would be one in every class — the person who never took notes but grasped concepts quickly. The fact of the matter is that note-taking has been considered harmful for your memory, and it distracts you from engaging in the conversation at hand. People who focus on what's being discussed and partake in the dialogue are more likely to understand the issues being presented.

If you are aware the meeting will go over several different topics, you might want to tell the employees they don't need to take any notes. Instead, have a secretary share a summary of the important points after the meeting. Sending this follow-up information not only allows the employees to be in the loop, but it also allows you to communicate your expectations more effectively.

Smaller teams lead to more effective meetings

Founder of GetVoIP, Reuben Yonatan, once pointed out that the fewer people there are in the meeting, the faster it goes. You are not only aiming for participation from the invitees but conducive and useful input. This might mean that you only invite team leaders to a meeting and allow them to relay the information to the rest of the employees.

Alternatively, you can hold different meetings with different departments and ensure each discussion is suited for their area of expertise and action. A Stanford professor, Robert Sutton,stated that bigger teams often place an overwhelming cognitive load on individual members, and most employees can maintain good personal relationships with only 3 to 4 teammates. Hence, you should ideally have a meeting of no more than eight people, but this can vary according to the size of your company. Just ensure there are as few people as necessary, which will, in turn, allows for high-priority discussions and reduce the attention split.


The main takeaway is that you need to ensure time is managed effectively while arranging a meeting. The Zoom era allowed everyone to be a part of a meeting and showed that it was ineffective. Instead, you would benefit most from keeping small, short meetings with key personnel and conducting follow-ups. Offering a purpose-built room, a meeting agenda, and providing key information in shared notes is another way of improving the participants' effectiveness. 

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