Optimize meetings: let’s start with the basics

We’ve all thought at least once in our lifetime: “Did we really need a meeting for that?”

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Meetings are a necessary part of our work life, and, if used properly, they are a powerful tool to make decisions quickly. However, their misuse (or overuse) can be detrimental for an organization and its people.

Face-to-face gatherings are useful for communication, for collecting ideas, for better engagement, and for socializing. But while we might think of meetings as the default method for discussing a project, they may not be the most efficient way to get things done. The good news is, there are some strategies to follow to optimize them.

The first step towards planning a meeting is defining it, and some businesses take this very seriously. For example, when you sign into a conference room at Intel’s headquarters, you read: “If you don’t know the purpose of your meeting, you are prohibited from starting.”

Defining your meeting is serious business when it comes to productivity. While every meeting is unique, being familiar with the most common types of meetings will help you to better identify your meeting’s goals, structure, and activities so you can write an agenda and send out a calendar invite to your participants. By knowing what you are meeting about, you might be able to ensure that you can optimize your time, using hours that could be more wisely spent on individual projects or work.

The definition process is a start, but there are more strategies that we can put in place to make a meeting truly effective, for example, making sure that the meeting has the right audience and size, and that roles are clearly assigned; starting and finishing on time, while covering all the topics on the agenda; matching the communicated objectives, and leaving the room with clear tasks and assigned owners.

But, before anything alse, you should ask yourself: “Does this really need to be a meeting?”

This content is an excerpt from “Meetings with meaning”, a course on maize.PLUS. To learn more and request a free demo for your company, click here.

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