1. Less is more
This is number one for a reason, don’t set meetings for the sake of setting meetings, only when there is a need. Prior to calling the meeting, ask yourself if the information can be shared just as effectively in a different way, through email, internal memos or even project management tools.
Another way of enforcing this is to merge similar meetings, not only does this save time, it can also make for better communication as there are more people present to contribute.
2. Set an end time and stick to it
By creating an agenda prior to the meeting you can help to determine how long it should run for. This will allow you to stay focused and on topic and will ensure that employees can plan their days out effectively.
If you feel as though you are constantly running over end times, you’re probably spending too much time in meetings. In order to gain insight into how much time you’re spending in meetings, you can use a time and task tracking tool like Hubstaff. Set up a task for “Meetings” and, at the end of the month, see how much you’ve spent in them.
3. Meet your objective or don't meet at all
For every meeting you should set a clear agenda, it may even be a good idea to assign roles to ensure that you do not go off topic.
4. Limit attendees
Only invite individuals who will either contribute or benefit from attending. Not only does this save time, it will also help to limit frustration harbored by those who did not need to attend. Time wasted in meetings could be spent more effectively on other tasks .
Having too many attendees can also have negative implications on the quality of discussion and can dilute the quality of information being exchanged . Having too many participants can lead to endless discussions, unclear direction, and too many opinions guiding the decision-making process.
5. Assign a leader
Without a leader meetings can often feel disorganised and uneffective. Designate a point person, typically the person who called the meeting — to lead a meeting and to keep things on track throughout the session.
Their main roles will typically include the following:
Scheduling the initial meeting and sending a calendar invite to those relevant
Creating the agenda
Assigning talking points or time slots to each attendee
Assigning tasks upon the conclusion of the meeting
Using the decisions and ideas drafted during the meeting to develop action items which are then assigned to members of the team. Using a project management system link the tasks to the individual responding so that people can refresh their memory as to what action is being taken.
At the end of the meeting summaries, it is important to come up with key points which outline the discussion and create a plan going forward. If there is time at the end of the meeting assign these tasks there and then, if not then the meeting leader can assign these roles after. There is nothing more frustrating than leaving a meeting feeling as though nothing had been gained from it, this way each participant feels as though it was time well spent.