The Secret to Making Your Meetings Shorter…and More Productive


The majority of meetings are long and unproductive. Time often is wasted by searching for audiovisual equipment or trying to get the technology to work. The conversation easily can get off-topic and cause the meeting to run late.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to resolve these issues. The more efficient your meetings are, the more effective your results are.

Implement these tips to shorten your meetings and make them more productive.

Invite the Necessary Attendees

Only the employees who are directly impacted by what the meeting is about should be invited. This cuts down on the amount of time needed for group discussions. The fewer attendees you have, the faster your meeting will be.

Arrive Prepared

Make sure the meeting room is ready to go in advance. This includes equipment, technology, handouts, and related materials.

Send the agenda in advance. Let the attendees know which issues will be discussed and what needs to be accomplished.

Clarify what the attendees’ roles will be. Remind everyone you need their input to make the meeting effective.

Adhere to the Agenda

Remain on schedule. This includes beginning and ending on time.

Allow a set amount of time for each speaker and open discussion about the topics. Assign a timekeeper to monitor the time spent on each agenda item.

Ask the timekeeper to let each speaker know when their time is close to ending. Encourage the timekeeper to interrupt the discussion when the speaker’s time is up. If additional topics come up, schedule them for another time.

Before the meeting adjourns, summarize the action items, the employee responsible for each, and the timeframe. If another meeting is required, set it up.

Encourage Everyone to Participate

Provide time for every attendee to share their thoughts during the meeting. This encourages the introverts to provide their input rather than letting the extroverts take over.

Allowing time for all attendees to participate shows their input is equally important. This increases diversity in the ideas that get developed and implemented.

Divide the Work

If you have a large number of attendees and need to evaluate the merits of several concepts, consider having everyone break into groups to discuss one concept per group. For instance, if you have 15 attendees and 3 concepts to evaluate, ask the attendees to divide into three groups of five, then assign one concept per group.

When the discussion time ends, ask each group to report its findings. This should attain better results in less time than having everyone discuss each concept as a group.

Hire Productive Employees

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