Tips for More Productive Meetings

“You have a meeting to make a decision, not to decide on the question.”

– Bill Gates

Business meetings for many can be one of the least appealing aspects of day to day business activity. The often unstructured, seemingly never-ending meetings that many experiences on a regular basis is creating more and more beliefs that meetings should be done away with almost entirely, or at least relegated to a new form of communication. However, face-to-face group meetings can still have significant value and prove to be an effective form of communication when done properly. Here are a few tips to achieve more productive meetings.

Having an agenda is key. This is perhaps the most crucial element of conducting a productive meeting. Having an agenda does not mean polling the room once the meeting has begun and creating one on the spot, but rather having a prepared, structured agenda detailing issues that may need to be addressed. The agenda isn’t just for the person conducting the meeting, but rather something written up and given to everyone involved before the meeting has begun. Understanding there is a concrete end point allows employees to be more focused and reach that point without as much disengagement.

It is important to make each person attending the meeting a necessary component of the agenda. Many times, employees are frustrated because they sit through full meetings where they are not needed and could be getting other work done. This also is key for the person conducting the meeting, as in he or she should be aware of every person attending the meeting. Preparation depends not only on the content of the meeting but also the people.

Lastly, an effective follow up on the meeting can have extraordinary value. No matter how well you prepare, not everyone will always be engaged for every meeting. This could mean briefly going over the previous meeting at the current meeting, an email briefly detailing the topics discussed, or just taking notes for yourself. No surprise, it’s all about constant and clear communication. Being proactive in how you conduct business and communicate with those with which you work, allows you as a business leader to have more control over your business and be put in a better position to achieve your goals.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization