Time management and productivity are two sides of the same coin. If your proposed meeting must be productive, then a clear and well planned time management and strategy must be in place. Nevertheless, this has not been the case even in high profile organizational and institutional meetings.
Some of the reports we get on some company’s board meeting is that they keep wasting board member’s precious time. Still on this note, even research has discovered that over 20% to 50% of time spent during meetings is not fruitful.
How To Make Meetings More Productive?
How then should one manage time in order to gain the best productive discussion during meetings? To do justice to this question, we have studied the varied possible distractions and time wasting factors in different kinds of meetings and we have concluded that:
- A meeting without a well planned agenda, is like a startup without a business plan. You may have an idea where you want to arrive at the end of the meeting, but you may not be able to get there, if the agenda is not broken down into points so that one point agenda can lead to the other in a progressive manner.
- People over schedule time for meeting, this is why it keeps going on endlessly without reaching a conclusive end. This also obeys Parkinson’s Law which states that “tasks take as much time as you plan for them”.
- People pay less attention to the speaker especially when they think that the points he or she is making sounds boring. People like this have less than 8 seconds attention span and are usually seen using their smartphone during meeting.
- Rambling and side talks are the most distracting and time wasting factors of most meetings. Some attendees may keep on repeating themselves on one point as if repetition would make others buy the point. This would chew up the time scheduled for such a meeting.
- Objecting to the main agenda of the meeting at the very beginning of the meeting, leads to fruitless argument and time wasting.
In order to give lasting solution to the above question, we have provided seven tips on how best to solve the five outlined meeting time wasting factors.
- Plan, set and send the agenda to all the invitees 24 hours before the scheduled time for commencement of the meeting.
This would help to ensure on your own part that you have a sense of direction and a road map to where you are going. On the part of the invitees, it will give them time to deliberate on the agenda and possibly meet in private to discuss thing with you before the meeting so that they will not object to it from the start.
- Always value your invitee’s time and keep to your meeting scheduled time. If you cannot start by the time you scheduled, make sure that all invitees are notified of the time shift. This will help build a spirit of time consciousness in your organization.
- Make certain that you invited the right people who can put ideas together in achieving a conclusive and productive agreement. Go through the meeting roster again to ensure that everyone invited has a purpose to accomplish and an idea to contribute.
- Schedule half the time you normally use in the previous meeting and you will be shock on getting a better result.
- If you think that, are starting to loss interest and attention to your discussions, then discuss the most pressing needs in the agenda first before going to the lighter points.
- Make sure that every sub-agendum is totally concluded on before moving to the next one. Also, do not conclude the meeting if an agreement has not been reached on the next step to follow.
- If you need more help, you can read time management books, use time management software or hire a time management coach.