Meeting Management Optimization Tips

This situation may sound familiar to you

You are at work and have a very busy day. You have to send one report by end of business day to your manager and you realize you have the day almost full of meetings.

While you're attending one of them, suddenly you start feeling you're not productive and your brain starts generating thoughts like:

  • What are we doing in this meeting?
  • Which is the objective of this meeting?
  • Are all the attendees required?
  • Is it really necessary make it 1h instead of 30 minutes?

Well, let me say this happened to me in the past and I know exactly what's this about. 

In this post I will share with you some key tips to improve your meetings productivity. This will keep your meeting attendees happy, so they won't come up with the questions above. 

Let's go for it!

Meeting Management Optimization Tips

These are the must dos for your meetings

I would like to start this section with one quote I read some time ago. I think it's good having awareness and taking action of it.

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." 

- William Penn - 

Now, let's start with the first tip.

1. Try to avoid it

This may seem a bit misaligned with the purpose of this post, please let me clarify. 

If you can get whatever you need just by going to someone desk and asking, do it. If you meet with someone in the canteen and you need him to send you some data, just ask for it. 

The best meeting is the not required one. All attendee agendas will appreciate it... BUT, we know in most of the cases it's required or even recommended meeting with the team. 

2. Keep it short and don't be late

Once you finally decided a meeting is required for moving forward with one topic, here we go with the second tip: Keep it short. Could you make it in 30 minutes instead of 1 hour? I'm confident once you'll finish reading this post, the answer will be... YES! 

It may seem too obvious, but if you want to improve your meeting productivity, please don't be late! Your meeting is short and you want to use every single minute of it.

3. Have a clear objective

You're sending the meeting invite, so you're requesting people to attend your meeting to discuss about certain topics. It's a key success factor for the meeting productivity to have a clear idea about the meeting objective and share it at the beginning with all the meeting attendees.

4. Have a clear Agenda and share it in advance

All the topics to be discussed during the meeting must be set in advance and shared in the meeting Agenda. The Agenda should be included in the meeting invite. 

5. The less the better

Invite only people who will add value to your meeting. We all know sometimes you'll have to extend it to give visibility to management roles or key stakeholders, but anyway try to follow "the less the better" approach.

6. A meeting is NOT a Workshop

It may be the case that while discussing about one of the points in the agenda, you realize it's required to set up an ad-hoc session to keep talking about it. In this case, just agree on scheduling a new session and jump to the next point in the agenda. 

Important note: It's a very common mistake spend too much time in one of the points of the agenda, which will cause running out of time and having to extend the meeting duration (if possible).

7. Leave space for the Q&A

One of your top priorities as the meeting lead is to properly communicate your message to the audience. The one and only way to confirm it is by receiving feedback during the session or with the Q&As (Questions & Answers). 

8. The 5 seconds rule

I learned this one very recently from one senior manager and since that moment, I took it! Let me give you an example. 

You just presented the Executive Summary of your project, but before moving forward you want to be sure everything is clear so you ask the question: "Is there any question before moving to the next slide?". Then just count until 5 (in your mind, of course)… if no comments, you move on.

This one is really simple but very powerful.

9. Meeting minutes are key

Meeting minutes are sometimes one of the main reasons for having a meeting. You want something to be decided and registered, so you schedule a meeting and then with the minutes you can keep track of that decision. 

From my point of view, every single meeting should have minutes. I can assure I've sent minutes from meetings where I was the meeting leader and the only attendee. Is for this reason I want to spend the less time possible on it, so I ended up with the way for automatizing them. You can check it out on this post.

10. Walking the extra mile... Stop multitasking

Come on, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, right? I would say if you are leading a meeting you won't do it, but how could you manage to avoid your audience doing it? Sometimes a single question to someone during the meeting could be used as an advice (for those multitasking). 

Example: You just presented something, just pick someone and ask for his point of view. Really easy.

So, what about you? Do you think your meetings are productive? Are you following any of these tips? Would you add any additional point to the ones mentioned above? Please, feel free to share with me your thoughts about this topic by adding a comment to this post.

July 25, 2022


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