To keep your knowledge workers productive, try these techniques for speeding up routine meetings.
Few business people admit to enjoying meetings. In fact, survey after survey suggests that business meetings are often, at best, unproductive. So before scheduling your next team meeting, experts suggest giving more thought to the who, what and why.
- Be sure it's necessary.
Take a hard look at regularly scheduled status meetings. A recent survey by Harris Interactive and Clarizen found that 70 percent of information workers don't believe status meetings help them accomplish work tasks. Almost 40 percent of respondents feel that such meetings are a waste of time, yet 55 percent spend one to three hours per week in them. Try email, telephone or informal chats to relay specific information instead.
- Set an agenda.
If you must meet, make it clear to participants what will be discussed and what you or they should expect to get out of the meeting. A clear, written agenda, available to everyone ahead of time, should set these goals and establish procedure, whether you're holding an informal brainstorm to collect ideas or an operational meeting to generate firm decisions and next steps.
- Keep it small.
Invite as few people as necessary to achieve your goal, particularly if you need decisions to be made. The larger the group, the less consensus you're likely to achieve.
- Keep it short.
What do you charge (or earn) for your time? Multiply that by the number of people in the room and the length of the meeting to measure the hard-dollar cost of the meeting. Does the return justify the investment? If it does, set a time limit for your meeting, and adhere to it. Few meetings should last more than an hour, and many can be shorter than that.
- Stand up.
To keep a meeting short and to the point, eliminate the chairs. Hold a quick "stand-up" in front of a white board or around a table and then move forward with your day.
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