Most work departments hold regular meetings, but how can you make sure this is time well spent for all? Here are 10 ways to improve your productivity.
1. No personal electronic gadgetry to be used by participants
It will save time and avoid having to cover an agenda point again for someone who is distracted by their device.
It will avoid inevitable comments such as, "I am sorry I have to take this call/answer this message". If the call is so important, why attend the meeting in the first place? I doubt anyone at your meeting is going to save the world for the sake of 30 minutes!
2. Switch off egos at the door
This is a meeting where everyone should have equal participation and standing.
3. Be prepared to listen as well as to speak
It allows you to be clear on the other person's point of view before you contribute. Silence is a good substitute for unnecessary commentary.
4. No working breakfasts, lunches or any other food stoppages
You are either eating or meeting. Once you bring food into a meeting people will general focus on the food.
If the meeting is very long, then by all means have a food break outside the room as it clears everyone's thoughts.
5. No general business
Very few of us have ever attended a meeting where general business does not take longer than the rest of the agenda.
At the very least limit general business to 1 minute per point, otherwise it should have been on the agenda!
6. Documentation distributed should be concise, otherwise everyone is reading and not participating
If there is a lot to be read, distribute it at an appropriate period of time prior to the meeting and hold people accountable if they say "Sorry I did not have time to read it." If the subject is not that important to them then should they even be at the meeting?
Also check if all the information was necessary for this particular meeting or is someone just creating confusion?
7. Set the agenda at least 48 hours prior to the meeting
This allows attendees to consider and prepare their contribution.
8. Always have a chairperson to ensure the agenda and meeting's objectives are met
Consider rotating the Chair when and where there is an opportunity and interest. This can create a feeling of greater unity.
9. Check if the meeting is necessary, not just a case of 'We always have a meeting at this time on this day'
All attendees' productivity will be lessened and their willingness to further participate in future meetings will be diminished if their time would have been more productively spent elsewhere. It will also avoid comments such as "What was that all about?" or "Did I really need to be there?".
10. Always question a meeting's value and purpose
If it's just a management information tool, look at other ways to distribute the information.
How many times have we all attended "meetings" where there was no discussion, it was just an information session?
About the author
After graduating from Westminster College, London, Val started work at Grosvenor House Park Lane before working for the Trust House Forte group in several properties. Val has also worked in Australia, Africa, China and Korea, working as an Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Manager and General Manager. Moving on to a career in education, Val joined Regency College in Adelaide, South Australia, where he taught hotel management students with an emphasis on food & beverage organisation and profit. In 1991, he joined the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in the start-up team. During his time at BMIHMS he has been involved in all aspects of the school's operation and educational programme. He now holds the position of Alumni Ambassador and his duties involve visiting graduates and observing hotel operations all over the world.