It may seem like many meetings that we organize or attend at work are largely unnecessary and often unproductive. This may be due to the fact that most meetings aren’t managed effectively and wind up having a negative impact on both productivity and employee motivation. Yet, meetings that are conducted well can be very beneficial to everyone involved. From sharing important company information to promoting more teamwork throughout an organization, professional meetings are an essential function in the world of business. If you want to have more productive meetings, then you should focus on some of these tips to help ensure that you’re minimizing meeting time while maximizing results.

Embrace Quality Over Quantity

Although it might be tempting to forgo business meetings altogether, it just wouldn’t be very prudent, since there really isn’t a better way to keep employees updated on complex work matters. But, it’s possible to significantly reduce both the frequency and amount of time spent in meetings. Preparation is key. Start by establishing strict time limits along with distributing a pre-planned agenda to keep everyone on course.

Review the Guest List

A common mistake that many leaders make when planning a business meeting is inviting too many people to attend. The most effective meetings typically only have very specific people attending. Leaders are encouraged to whittle their guest lists down to less than 10 people to have the most productive meetings. Otherwise, you risk running out of time for everyone to be heard. Company email is a wonderful tool for disseminating updates to other employees that weren’t included in the meeting.

Change the Setting

Business meetings don’t have to take place in conference rooms to be productive. For instance, a growing number of leaders are meeting with colleagues and clients outside of the office at coffee shops, restaurants and even scheduling stand-up or walking meetings all in an effort to reach conclusions sooner.

Designate a Facilitator

Meetings always require one clear leader or facilitator in order to keep the conversation flowing, and also ensure the agenda is followed. They need to control the discussion by restricting individuals from dominating the discussion or repeating what has already been said.

The overall success of a meeting can even be influenced by the seating arrangement. For instance, if you want to promote a lively discussion, then you should set teams on opposite ends of the table. On the contrary, seat employees on the same side of a table to gain a more collaborative meeting environment. Finally, focus on minimizing any other distractions, like cell phones, that can negatively impact the efficiency of meetings.

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