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The purpose of meetings is to convey information to an individual and/or to a group. Some meetings are more effective than others. Productive meetings should add value to each person present and the organization. If individuals have not contributed or aren’t more knowledgeable and connected to the business at hand than before the meeting, should they have been there? They might serve the organization better by working at their desks or adding value elsewhere.

While those who call meetings might be well-intentioned, ill-structured meetings could be costly. Add all meetings to the calendar then calculate how much time they account for in a week and then multiply the time by the salaries of the people sitting around the table. As long as the benefits are greater than the costs, they are productive meetings. 

When scheduling a meeting the first thing a leader should determine is what type of meeting it is and what is to be accomplished. Sometimes leaders intend to hold meetings that are social in nature, such as birthdays, retirement, or other celebrations. Meetings like these can enhance morale and comradery. However, if the leaders; intent is to conduct business effectively and efficiently the following suggestions are means to that end.

Send agendas to participants before the meeting to give them an opportunity to prepare for it. The more prep time needed the earlier the agenda should be distributed. Clearly convey the purpose of the meeting and delineate discussion and actionable items. Prescribe time limits for both. Attention spans are limited so limit meetings to an hour and a half or less. If more work is needed on research or action items assign an individual or team to give an update at the next meeting.

If necessary have two aids (a timekeeper and a visual display of the goal of the meeting) to ensure that people do not digress. Scope creep is one of the most underestimated reasons for unproductive meetings, according to D.V, Dipu, author of “9 Meeting Ground Rules for Productive Executives”.

Use these and other tools to make your organization more productive. I believe you can work hard and still make it fun. Periodically lighten the mood with a bit of humor. That is how you can make meetings work for you and your organization. 

Feel free to share your thoughts about how you make meetings work for you in the workplaceTo learn more about my coaching practice visit