Did you know that the average employee wastes nearly 13 working days every year in unproductive meetings? So why in a world where we try to be as productive as possible is this still happening? 66% of people from the same survey even admitted to making excuses in order to avoid meetings! We’d be lying if we said we’d never been in a completely pointless meeting but if you’re calling in sick just to avoid one then it’s time to put a stop to it.

Despite the dread you may feel when an Outlook invite pops up for the monthly department meeting, it’s just a part of business and something you have to get used to! Meetings are something every company needs in place to encourage collaboration, teamwork and communication as well as being a critical part of reaching business objectives. However, that doesn’t mean there are any excuses for them being unproductive, time-consuming and ineffective. There’s nothing worse than walking away from a meeting thinking “what a waste of time!”

If you find yourself dozing off in long, unnecessary meetings then try and utilise the following tips to make them more productive and worth having!

Ask yourself if this meeting is necessary

Before you even send a meeting request, have a think about whether it is even necessary. Sometimes you’ll realise that you could discuss the subject in matter over email or the phone which saves time for everyone!

You should also ask yourself who actually needs to be involved. If you invite too many people, the purpose of the meeting could get lost but if you don’t invite enough, you might not be able to complete the objectives. You need to invite the ideal number so you can achieve exactly what you set out to without wasting other people’s time when they could be cracking on with their day to day tasks.

Prepare beforehand

The key to a smooth-running meeting is preparation. Ensure that you put some time aside the day before your meeting to write notes and set a clear agenda so you can distribute it to all the participants in advance. This will give everyone a chance to prepare anything else they need so once your meeting commences, things can kick off straight away!

Stick to an agenda

You’ll find that having an agenda will make everyone much more focused and less likely to waffle on about irrelevant topics as there will be a structure to the meeting. It will save you from wasting time as you know exactly what points you need to cover and everyone will understand the objectives of the meeting from the outset.

Keep them short and sweet

You’ll be sure to notice a dip in productivity if your meetings go on for longer than an hour. Nobody likes a long, tedious meeting so try to schedule them in for 15-30 minutes (depending on what you have to discuss) to keep everyone focused. The shorter the meeting, the more effective it will be as things won’t drag out.

Quit the multitasking

Distractions can be one of the biggest reasons for an unproductive meeting so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. Leave your phone at your desk and don’t check your emails or try to complete other work whilst in the meeting as it will only result in conversations having to be repeated and wasting time. As much as we usually encourage the use of your recruitment CRM, maybe avoid this in meetings.

Write notes

It’s vital that in every meeting, there is someone there to write notes or minutes to avoid confusion. Make sure you’ve noted what was discussed, what is being actioned and by who as well as what you need to discuss in the next meeting if there needs to be one. This can then be sent to everyone who was involved to keep track of tasks and be used as a basis for the next agenda.

Don’t overrun

Every meeting should have a clear start and finish time to ensure it doesn’t overrun. It will also help to keep track of time and stick to the agenda so you can make the meeting as productive as possible. People’s lives don’t revolve around meetings so it’s important to finish when you say you will!

Considering more than one in three people admit to switching off during meetings and 59% of employees feel less engaged because of them, you should definitely put these tips for boosting productivity into practice. You’ll find it will increase employee engagement, improve the efficiency of your workforce and drastically save both time and money.