Tips and Tricks

September 25, 2017 By Raph DaCosta

6 Back-to-Basics Tips For More Productive Meetings

September 25, 2017

By Raph DaCosta

Read More from Raph DaCosta

September 25, 2017

6 Back-to-Basics Tips For More Productive Meetings

By Raph DaCosta
Social Media Specialist

We’ve all experienced it — The meeting that should have been an email. The meeting where you spend half the allotted time just trying to get the presentation to display on the conference room television. The meeting that never seem to end and yet nothing gets accomplished…

Meetings are a necessary part of collaboration and you can’t escape them. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through them.

It’s time to go back to the basics to make meetings more productive. Check out these seven essential tips to help break the bad meeting cycle.

1. Come to the meeting on time

When the meeting invite says two in the afternoon, that means the meeting starts at two in the afternoon. If you’re running the meeting, try to get in the conference room a few minutes early to get everything setup before the meeting starts. Test the wifi in the room, get the conference call ready, practice screen sharing and everything else you need to make the meeting go smoothly.

2. Put your phone on silent

Phones are one of the biggest enemy to a successful meeting. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, when people switch back and forth between tasks, they lose up to 50% of their efficiency and accuracy. The more complex the task, the more efficiency and accuracy is lost. If you must bring your phone with you to a meeting, the best thing you can do for the sake of everyone’s productivity is to set it on silent.

3. Set your chat clients to away

Chat clients like Slack and HipChat are one of our favorite ways to collaborate with coworkers, but when you are in a meeting, your attention should be in that meeting and not what’s being posted on the “free food” Slack channel. During the meeting set yourself to “away” so others know you’re busy and can respond at a later point.

4. Use pen and paper for notes

Nothing beats the classic pen and paper combination for note taking. Research shows that individuals who handwrite their notes tend to retain more information. By forcing yourself to write down your notes, you make sure you focus on only the most important details.

After your meeting, it’s a good idea to follow up and type up your notes on your laptop. This forces you to think through the meeting discussion and help you retain the information better.

5. Make an agenda ahead of time

We’ve all seen a poorly planned meeting go off the rails. An agenda can be a powerful tool for keeping everyone on topic. If you are hosting the meeting, write up a brief agenda that covers the flow for the entire meeting. Make sure all meeting participants can see the agenda before the meeting, and spend a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting covering the agenda.

6. Hold questions to the end

“Please hold all questions to the end.” We’ve all heard this housekeeping rule stated before a presentation. And we’ve all experienced those meetings where the conversation never moves forward because the presenter is being constantly peppered with questions. You can set time aside in your agenda to allow for Q&A so everyone’s questions can be addressed without derailing the presentation.