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Three keys to better business meetings

Three keys to better business meetings

Sitting in a bad work meeting is like being stuck in traffic with no off-ramp in sight. Nobody wants to be there. Your colleagues are ready to do whatever it takes just to get out. Sound familiar? Unless you want them hoping for someone to pull the fire alarm while you’re talking, you have to learn ways to improve meetings at work. Here are three keys to keep in mind:

1. Time matters

Time is valuable to everybody – not just the person in charge of the work meeting. If you’re that person, don’t waste everyone’s time. Pay attention to the clock and do this:

  • Start on time
  • Keep it short
  • Stop on time

Normally, a 45-minute meeting hits the attention-span sweet spot, and nobody will complain if you quit early, either. So long as you accomplish your tasks, everybody will be just fine — especially if they see improvements in their productivity.

2. Stay on task

Having an agenda distributed before the work meeting will help keep things moving. It should identify tasks, include reports, and allow for discussion.

The curse of many meetings is the person who talks too much and bogs down the process. We all know who that is, so you should try to deal with it before the meeting. For example, you could tell the talkaholic: “Hey, I would like your input on this agenda item, but I don’t think we’ll have time at the meeting. Can you think about it, and get back to me after the meeting?” If you’re midway through the meeting, however, feel free to cut short the oversharing by inviting your colleague(s) to take the discussion offline. After all, you’re in charge and the longer this meeting lasts, the more likely you’ll be stuck in traffic on the way home.

3. Make it worthwhile

Your co-workers will feel your meeting is worthwhile if you follow through with improvements at work. If you don’t, those in attendance will feel it was a waste of their time and will dread your next invite.

In preparation for your next meeting, think about how each person will benefit or contribute. If you can’t think of anything, then maybe they shouldn’t be there. Don’t invite them, and don’t worry about it. They probably didn’t want to go anyway.

Mike Steib, author of The Career Manifesto: Discover Your Calling and Create an Extraordinary Life, says meetings should include “only the people who are necessary to achieve the goal and no one else.” He says the more people in the room, the less likely you are to have a productive and honest debate. “There is no magic number, but I can tell you that if there are 12 people in the room, you are not going to get anything decided,” Steib says.

Having the right people at your work meeting starts with hiring

There are any number of ways to improve meetings at your office, but what good is that if you can’t rely on your team to get the job done? In today’s hiring market, getting the right mix of skills, personality and drive in your staff is that much more important to stay competitive. For virtually endless resources on the hiring process, such as expert guidance on recruiting and hiring trends, sign up for Monster Hiring Solutions.