Six ways to make meetings more engaging and productive

Research has shown that the average business in the US wastes up to 31 hours on unproductive meetings every month.

If we think about this in terms of lost revenue, this is a worrying figure. So, how can businesses make their meetings more engaging and productive?

Whether you’re planning a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting, there are a few simple things you can do to keep them on track and leave your employees feeling energised.

Here are some of our top tips to help you:

1.  Reduce the number of people

Inviting all your employees to a meeting might seem like the right thing to do, but it’s not always a great idea. Too many people in a meeting can often lead to more distractions, too many different opinions and wasted time and money. Instead, businesses should try and reduce the number of people at meetings. Try to keep them small by only inviting the people whose input you need.

2. Create an agenda

If you want your employees to be more productive in meetings, then allow them enough time to prepare for the meeting in advance. Lots of people find it hard to discuss their opinions or worries when they are put on the spot in a meeting.

Allowing your employees some time before the meeting to think about their opinions and do some research into the topic being discussed is always a good idea. It doesn’t matter whether your meeting is about how to make safety a priority within your business or whether it’s about a new product. Always start by creating an agenda.

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Your agenda should include the different things you want to discuss during the meeting. It can be as detailed as you want it to be. You may choose to break the agenda down into a list of the topics you want to discuss, or you could break it down even further into a minute-based breakdown for discussions.

Once you’ve created an agenda, distribute it to everyone you expect to attend the meeting. Employees who have the correct knowledge and information in a meeting are much more likely to offer helpful suggestions.

As we mentioned above, agendas can help employees feel more prepared for meetings, but this isn’t their only benefit. Agendas are also a brilliant way to keep everyone on track during a meeting. Businesses can use agendas to set themselves some goals and objectives. By making sure your employees focus on the same things as you, you can motivate them to be prepared.

3. Reduce the time spent in meetings

Evidence has shown that the ideal length of a meeting is 22 minutes. This is the amount of time an average adult in the US can concentrate in a work environment. While lots of business owners may find it hard to keep their meetings short and sweet, keeping your meeting to a strict time frame is crucial.

4. Experiment

To succeed as an organisation, businesses need to be willing to experiment with new and innovative techniques and ideas. Businesses should try not to focus on the outcome of experiments and instead concentrate on what you and your employees learned from the experience. Being willing to try out new ideas and discuss them in meetings will help to make your meetings more engaging.

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5. End with a summary

It doesn’t matter how productive your meetings are, if people leave feeling confused about what they’re meant to do next, it wasn’t highly successful. Therefore, it’s so important to make sure you spend a few minutes at the end of every meeting discussing and reviewing what you’ve already spoken about. You will also need to make sure that your employees understand what their next steps are.

6. Reduce the amount of technology in the room

If you’re planning a face-to-face meeting, then it’s a brilliant idea to reduce the amount of technology in the room. Devices like laptops, mobile phones, projectors, and large screen TVs can all be highly distracting in a meeting.

Instead of using technology, why not consider asking someone to take notes for you? They will be able to record the minutes of the meeting by hand. If you prefer the minutes of your meetings to be stored on a computer, then consider asking an employee to write them up once the meeting has concluded.

While this is brilliant for face-to-face meetings, millions of businesses now conduct their meetings online. If you must use technology in your meeting, then it’s a good idea to make sure the equipment it is working correctly before the meeting starts.

Meetings are a great way for businesses to stay in contact with their employees, but they’re not always as useful as they could be.

If your business meetings aren’t as engaging or productive as you’d envisaged, then follow some of our top tips above.