15 ways to make meetings more productive

Business and HR experts share their top tips on what managers can do to improve meeting attendance and make them more constructive.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Similarly, if possible, present “in 5-minute chunks,” says Kelly Bedrich, cofounder, Electricity Plans. “Otherwise call a meeting to address a single, specific problem.”

9. Be prepared

“Know the names (first and last) of those you’re meeting with, do some research on the topic you’re discussing (especially if you know it’s one that you’ll need to brainstorm ideas for) and be familiar with [the agenda and] timeline,” says Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com.

10. Don't be a slide-reader (and bore attendees)

“One of my biggest pet peeves in meetings is when the host reads directly, verbatim, from the presentation they're sharing,” says Richard Heby, content manager, LiquidSpace. “The point of a meeting is to offer insight on a topic, not just share a document, spreadsheet or deck.

“When presenting, hold your audience's attention by offering information that they can't immediately grasp from the presentation,” he advises. “Show them something they're not seeing. Otherwise you're providing no added value beyond the document itself.” And you could have just sent them the presentation instead of forcing them to attend a meeting.

11. Don’t lecture

“If your meeting consists of one person talking, you’re not holding a meeting, you’re holding a lecture,” says Paquette. “Participation is what makes a meeting.” So encourage people to ask questions or share information.

12. Stay on topic

“A common mistake that meeting leaders make is being overly polite to attendees,” says Joos. “If the conversation is getting off topic, don’t be afraid to intervene and bring the conversation back to the outlined topics, and table any relevant points raised for a future discussion.”

13. Don’t forget about virtual attendees

If you invite people to virtually attend your meeting, make sure the technology is in place for them to attend virtually (audio only or video) and then don’t forget about them.

“When you’re physically present in a meeting, you feel more included and more comfortable chiming in with your ideas and opinions,” notes Pat Harper, CTO, PGi. However, “when you’re attending a meeting virtually, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to participate in the discussion.” Therefore, meeting leaders “should make a habit of verbally checking in with remote workers as important questions are raised or key discussion topics are introduced, [so] virtual meeting members feel included.” 

14. Capture decisions, action items and next steps

“You may have had a wildly productive meeting, but if the decisions weren't captured, it could be as if [the meeting] never happened, says Leigh Espy, project/process advisor, FedEx. Therefore, it’s important to “capture action items and target dates [during the meeting], along with the next steps the group identified to keep the momentum and progress [going]. Documenting and sharing these with others helps with communication and accountability. It provides a historical record if needed by your team. And everyone knows what's expected next.”

15. Do a quick recap at the end

“Spend the last two minutes clearly covering action items: who will cover them and a target date for when they’ll be accomplished,” says Bedrich. This way people will leave the meeting with a sense of purpose.

Related:

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
Get the best of CIO ... delivered. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters!