Did you know that 71% of meetings considered “unproductive” or “inefficient“. That’s a pretty shocking number, considering the average employee can spend 30%-50% of their time in meetings. There’s no question that time management for meetings is important, even with the recent increase of virtual meetings.
Whether it’s before or during the meeting, time management can help with meeting productivity. For the interest of the group, meeting attendees should do their individual parts to make the meeting go efficiently. This article outlines effective tips for meeting attendees, and how they can use time management best practices for business meetings.
We asked Helene Segura, Productivity Consultant & Time Management to provide some time management tips for meetings in the form of a Q&A. You can follow her on Facebook & LinkedIn.
Q: What are some tips on how meeting attendees can individually prepare for a meeting to ensure productivity during meetings?
A: The first tip is to check on the meeting agenda – if there is no agenda, there’s already a question about meeting productivity. Each individual participant should know what to bring to the meeting – this can include both thoughts & ideas, as well as deliverables (like presentations or requested information). If the agenda does not mention bringing anything to the meeting, participants should view the topics listed, and bring questions related to them.
In addition to the agenda, participants should make sure their calendars are marked for the meeting. This not only includes the meeting invite, but there should be some time blocked for personal preparation. For non-virtual meetings, make sure to book time for travel purposes as well.
Q: What are some common facilitation meetings techniques that are effective for meetings?
A: Instead of techniques, these tips should be viewed more as “steps”:
- Step 1 – have a specific objective for the meeting; if there is not an objective, there’s no need for a meeting.
- Step 2 – make sure to send the meeting agenda a minimum of two days prior. However, for important meetings that require higher quality discussion or deliverables, consider sending the agenda further in advance.
- Step 3 – Start the meeting on time. If you wait for people who are late to the meeting, you’re training everyone that it’s okay to be late.
Q: If or when meetings get off track, what are some in-meeting strategies to get your meeting back on track? How can this be avoided?
A: When it comes to productivity during meetings, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. Meeting leaders and facilitators can be pro-active by addressing rules around time constraints while enforcing the rules during meetings. By doing this, it decreases the likelihood of getting off-track during meetings.
However, if and when meetings get off track, try these techniques:
Plan for discussions in your meeting by using time boxing. For each topic, the assignee or topic specialist will have a set amount of time to discuss the topic. This tactic helps move the meeting faster when there is a time constraint for each topic.
Provide Time Updates
During the meeting, the facilitator or leader should remind people of the amount of time for an agenda topic, and assign a certain amount of time to each person who has the floor. Before the end of a time block, the facilitator can provide a 2-minute warning.
When time boxing topics for a meeting, be sure to prioritize the topics of importance first. That way, if the group runs out of the allotted time, the group can decide to either continue discussing the topic or save it for a later meeting and move on to the other agenda items.
The more you use timeboxing, you should start to see the amount of time to plan for various topics and that will help with your meeting agenda planning and discussions moving forward.
Applying Time Management Tips
By implementing these tips listed by Helene, your business meeting productivity will increase over time. Each meeting you have will be easier to manage.
Thanks again to Helene for providing these insight tips. We hope they help your business or organization have more productive meetings during business hours.
For more tips on meetings, be sure to view our blog. And to improve productivity learn more about how yoyomeeting works. From meeting planning to meeting recording, meeting recaps, yoyomeeting helps streamline and automate the meeting process. Get a free 2-week trial today!