We’ve all attended meetings that have lasted twice as long as scheduled, didn’t stay on track, or lacked focus and efficiency. In fact, over 50% of people see meeting time as unproductive, but no one’s doing anything to fix it or change it. If this is a common occurrence for your team, it’s time to make some changes.
Part of the problem is no one is policing the situation or stopping the bleeding when a meeting has clearly gone off track and isn’t productive anymore. Without some established rules or guidelines, the reality is nothing is going to change, which will continue to directly impact your organization’s productivity as a whole over time.
Instead letting meetings in your organization continue to be ineffective, consider incorporating these four key rules to encourage better meeting outcomes and results:
Rule #1: Limit attendance. The smaller the meeting, the better.
The old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” holds true for meeting effectiveness. If you have too many people in the room, the likelihood of something getting done is slim to none. A good rule of thumb is Jeff Bezos’ two pizza rule: “Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.”
Rule #2: Forbid electronic devices during meetings.
As the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge commercial states, “we’re a nation of checkers.” If attendees have a phone, laptop, or tablet in the room during the meetings, it’s almost a certainty they’ll check it. Unless someone is responsible for taking notes, then banning electronic devices during meetings is a good idea.
Rule #3: No meeting should be longer than what was scheduled.
If a meeting was scheduled for an hour, then keep it to an hour. If you can’t get what you need to get done in an hour, then book out more time. It’s important that attendees’ time is respected. Set the parameters for the meetings upfront and stick to it.
Rule #4: Every meeting should have a purpose and agenda.
It’s the rule everyone is familiar with, but it’s also the rule that’s broken most often. If you don’t have a plan or purpose for a meeting, there’s no point to meeting—end of story.
These rules may sound simple, but it can take time to enforce them and make them a habit for your organization. Start incorporating these into your daily meetings, and make it clear across the organization how important it is to have productive meetings.
Find out how effective your meetings are with this Infographic.