Research shows that the average employee has 10 meetings per week.
Therefore it’s high time to have a critical look at the way in which we all conduct meetings. How are we spending all of this valuable time? And what ways are there to make meetings more efficient, more creative, and altogether more fun? We’ll give you 7 crucial tips to ensure an optimal meeting!
Tip 1: Don't hesitate to limit the number of participants
The more the merrier, right? Maybe so if the event in question is your birthday party. But for meetings, the opposite tends to be true. The fewer invitees, the better.
51% of employees often attend meetings that are irrelevant to them.
Whether someone is invited to a meeting should depend on whether they will be able to contribute to the meeting in some way.
Does this person have important input?
Is this person in charge of making a relevant decision?
Will this person be working on/with this project in the future?
Is this someone whose opinion you would like to get?
The maximum number of people for an optimal meeting is only seven.
If you want to ask lots of people for input or for their opinions, there is still no need for you to invite all of them, as shown in item 2.
Tip 2: Anyone have anything else to add?
Decisions are usually preceded by discussions. And these discussions often take place during meetings. However, is this really an efficient way of reaching a decision?
In most cases, the answer to that question would be: ‘no’. This is due to a phenomenon known as ‘social loafing’. This means that a person’s individual input decreases when faced with group-based tasks. The bigger the group, the smaller a person’s individual input.
In meetings with more than seven people, the group's decision making power decreases by 10% with each additional meeting participant.
The solution? Collect people’s input and opinions before the meeting. One simple way of doing this is via Microsoft Teams. This software allows you to grant all meeting participants access to the files and documents that are relevant to the meeting, so that they can prepare properly in advance. After all, a job well begun is a job half done!
By collecting opinions and input as much as possible before the actual meeting, you are able to drastically limit the number of invitees and are able to get to the heart of things much quicker during the meeting. Another advantage is the fact that people have been given the opportunity to carefully consider their input and opinions, instead of having to spontaneously react to something off the cuff.
Tip 3: Make sure there is a clear meeting agenda
Here’s an important habit to internalise: make sure that every meeting has a clear objective, and a clear agenda. This may seem obvious, but research shows that it is far from self-evident!
49% of employees frequently attend meetings that have no clear objective or purpose.
Companies and employers need to be firm in this regard. In an article in the New York Times Business, Annette Catino (chief executive of QualCare Alliance Network) states the following:
"If I don’t have an agenda in front of me, I walk out. Give me an agenda or else I’m not going to sit there, because if I don’t know why we’re in the meeting, and you don’t know why we’re there, then there’s no reason for a meeting."
The objective and agenda of the meeting must be known to everyone. If the meeting was scheduled with the aim of reaching a decision, then make sure you actually do make a decision at the end of the meeting instead of just pushing things further down the road.
Tip 4: Ayo, tired of using technology?
We’ve all been there – you’ve worked hard on drawing up a clear agenda, collecting input and inviting the right people. And then you lose half an hour fussing about with plugs and projector screens and whatnot.
At the average meeting, 12% of the time is spent on getting the technology set up properly.
As a result, people end up grabbing their own phones or laptops to look things up, show things or send things.
57% to 66% of employees regularly use their own devices at work.
Millennials are most prone to using their own devices at work. As such, it is important for your corporate technology to be able to link to other (private) devices. This stimulates efficient use of technology during meetings.
However, do make sure your corporate technology is always up to date! Proper use of technology can really make a meeting easier, through features such as screen sharing, video conferencing and both Virtual and Augmented Reality. On top of that, the use of technology makes meetings more productive and fun.
68% of employees believe that transformative technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) can improve the quality of their meetings.
Tip 5: Make sure your meetings are short and to the point
Boring meetings always seem to go on forever… However, part of that feeling may just be because lots of meetings are simply too long.
Research shows that the ideal time for a meeting is 21 minutes. However, the average meeting takes 48 minutes.
What are some ways to make your meetings shorter? Starting with a clear agenda will be a big help. Because it enables the meeting moderator to intervene whenever irrelevant topics are brought up. Here’s another tip.
Conducting your meetings in a stand-up format decreases their length by around 34%, while maintaining the same productivity levels.
In short, that’s plenty of reason for you to consider different ways of meeting, such as in a stand-up or while walking around. Another method to stimulate this modern way of conducting meetings is having a huddle room. Huddle rooms stimulate teamwork, reduce the need for people to book a room, and are also suitable for spontaneous meetings. A huddle room can be closed off, improving people’s ability to concentrate, and it’s also cheaper than outfitting an entire meeting room. And above all, it increases productivity. huddle room verhoogt de productiviteit.
64% of the employees who have access to a huddle room say that it promotes productive meetings.
Tip 6: Always have a plan of action by the end of the meeting
Every meeting should end with a concrete action plan, meaning that everyone knows exactly:
What has been decided
Which subsequent steps need to be taken
Who is responsible for which tasks
Having a concrete action plan will ensure that people can get started on what has been decided or planned right away, so that the meeting is even more productive.
Tip 7: Have another look at your regularly scheduled meetings
Many companies have regularly scheduled weekly or monthly meetings. These should be reconsidered as well. If you’re willing to try a radical experiment, cancel all regularly scheduled meetings and discover over time which meetings are actually necessary, so that you can then re-implement only those meetings.
Mr Butterfield, managing director of communication platform Slack, did just that:
"We just went through this process of canceling almost every recurring meeting that we had, to see which ones we really needed. We probably do need some of the ones we canceled, and they’ll come back — but we’ll wait until we actually need them again."
This experiment might just help you discover that many of the meetings you keep scheduling are superfluous - and the meetings you do miss are easily reinstated.
In short: these are the steps to a perfect meeting...
The average employee attends 10 meetings per week. How do you make these meetings more enjoyable and more efficient at the same time?
Limit the number of participants to no more than 7
Collect people’s input beforehand
Set clear objectives and draw up an agenda
Use the right technology
The perfect meeting duration is 21 minutes
End the meeting with a plan of attack in place
Reconsider your regularly scheduled meetings
Exclamations like ‘My entire day was just meetings’ or ‘I’m spending all day running from meeting to meeting’ will soon be a thing of the past at your office. Because these gems of knowledge will ensure that not another minute is spent in boring or superfluous meetings!
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