Eight tips for effective meetings

It’s no secret we waste a lot of valuable working hours in meetings. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight quick tips to make every meeting better.

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1. Do we need this meeting?

Often meetings are called because an individual thinks they ‘should’ have one. But travelling to a meeting and prepping takes time. If you can, set up a discussion on Slack or elsewhere instead and let people contribute to the topic.

2. Create a structure

If you do decide to have the meeting make a list of what needs to be discussed and allot a time for each issue (not necessarily equal portions). Warn participants when ten and five minutes are looming for each topic. You’ll often find this helps wrap things up.

3. The fewer the better

At Google, a meeting never has more attendees than can be fed with two pizzas. If you need two pizzas, you need two meetings. The more people you have, the less cross-over involvement.

4. Find a neutral space

An office where your boss resides is not the place to hold a meeting. If you don’t have a neutral meeting room in your office, book one. There are plenty of Windsor meeting rooms available for individual bookings. Look online for office meeting rooms or hotels such as the https://royaladelaide.com.

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5. Have a chairperson

If you have a schedule, you need a chairperson that no one is allowed to overrule. Sometimes an external department assistant or a graduate trainee best fills this role, as they won’t play favourites.

6. Ban self-promotion

When someone talks it must answer the question. Don’t allow people to monopolize the conversation with stories of their own experiences. This is just loosely veiled boasting. If someone starts to drone on about their achievements or abilities – interrupt and move on.

7. Close laptops

If participants have enough time to multi-task in the meeting, they shouldn’t be there. Meetings should be intense, efficient and short! Laptops and phones need to be closed and face down except when needed in the meeting space.

8. Finish on time – every time

And finally, don’t allow meetings to cannibalize participants’ free time or work time. When we know the constraints of an activity we more often give it our full attention.