Six Ways to Conduct More Productive Meetings and Conference Calls

Whether you’re sitting in the same room, meeting on-line, or connecting your team by conference call, you spend a lot of time in meetings.  On any given day, there are 11 million meetings taking place in the U.S. every single day!  BPS Research estimates that $37 billion dollars is lost every day to unproductive work meetings.

So how do you make sure your meetings are productive?  Here are 6 tips to hold more productive meetings:

  1. Invite the right people

    Do make sure everyone you need is in the meeting, but if someone doesn’t need to be in the meeting, don’t make them do it!  It’s a surefire morale buster and waste of everyone’s time.
  2. Communicate the purpose ahead of time

    Make sure all the participants know the purpose of the meeting and the end goal.  Is it simply informational or are you looking to make a decision?  Are you looking for input into whether to proceed on a project or have you already made the decision and you want to talk about implementation? 
  3. Tell the team what they need to prepare

    If there’s research they need to do in advance of the meeting, or if they need to bring support material, let them know.  Don’t make people wait while someone runs out to get the info you need.
  4. Check your tech prior to the meeting

    If you’re using technology, such as a white board, video, video conferencing, presentation, or reservationless conference calling, make sure it works in the room before the meeting starts.  If others are joining remotely, have them check their connections and install any software they need before the meeting starts.
  5. Start at the start time

    Some people are always late for meetings.  If you wait for them, you’re sending the message that it’s OK.  It’s unfair to the people that are on time and ready to go.  It’s OK to say a few pleasantries, but get down to business as quickly as possible and keep people on track.  State the purpose and end goal. 
  6. Finish on time and with results

    When the time you’ve set aside expires, end the meeting.  Have you accomplished your goal?  If you haven’t accomplished your goal, set a time for the next discussion.  If you have met your goal, congratulations!  Let everybody know they have helped achieve the desired outcome and talk about your next steps.  Make any assignments and schedule follow-ups.