Want to spend less time in meetings?   

Studies show that managers and leaders spend 40-50% of their working hours in meetings and that as much as 50% of that time is wasted.

Do you remember being in meetings that promised to be fast, but left you furious because the meeting wasn’t getting anywhere and you had a million other things you could be doing?  Pulling a group of busy professionals into unproductive meetings is like buying a luxury sports car and driving it around a car park in second gear.

So here are 5 ways for you to keep your meetings tight and on track.

1. Make a promise

If you can answer the question “I promise I’ll let you out of the meeting by the time we (fill in the blank)” then you’ll be clear on why you’re having the meeting.  Your attendees will appreciate the time and space to focus on that one important thing, and then get back to their other work.

2. Overshare

If people are spending mental energy guessing whether there will be a presentation, or whether they’ll need to vote at the end, then their energy is not focused on the meeting itself.  They’re grownups.  Tell them what’s coming up so that they don’t need to guess.

3. Use the relevance challenge

If someone is taking too long to say their thing or is veering off topic, ask them how what they’re saying is relevant to the outcome of this meeting.  If it’s not relevant, take it offline.

4. Playback key points

They say that if 10 people witness a crime, you’ll get 10 conflicting witness reports.  Summarise key points and check in with the group that they’re on the same page.

5. Look forward

What happens in meetings does not stay in meetings.  Clearly identify next actions which need to happen outside the meeting and allocate who’s responsible for them.  No one leaves the room until this is agreed.

So what gear will you be in for your next meeting?