How to Make Your SME Meetings More Productive

Making Meetings More Productive

Meetings are an integral part of any business, but at what point do they become more of a hindrance than help? Sometimes it can feel like we are having meetings about meetings and productivity starts to suffer. So how can you make your meetings more productive?

Did you know that on average we spend over 10 hours of our working week either in meetings or preparing for them? And over half the meetings are considered unnecessary. That’s a lot of wasted time that could be spent making sh** happen!

If you’re an SME then the good news is you probably have a little more control over your meetings than if you’re part of a blue chip corporation. Nevertheless we could all do with some tips to make things a bit more streamlined.

  1. Embrace stand up meetings

Stand up meetings are exactly as they imply…standing. They are designed to be short, sharp meetings generally at the start of the day or week to regroup, set focus and boost motivation. Participants are encouraged to give a quick update on they’re working on and milestones are set.

Stand ups are a great way to break objectives down into micro targets to keep the work rate up.

If you can’t stand, sitting is fine – it’s more the metaphor, to keep things short and sweet so you can crack on with your day.

  1. Set time limits

Meetings can have a tendency to go on – especially if there’s a lot to get through. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that feeling of being stuck in a meeting. Excusing yourself can seem rude and often people just end up zoning out.

Set meetings with a clear agenda and agree a hard stop. Keep the agenda in mind and refer to it to keep things on track. If it helps, have a clock and put it somewhere visible so you can avoid having to glance at the wall.

  1. Ask if the meeting is necessary

Before confirming your attendance, find out if you really need to be there. That’s not to say you should seek to avoid all meetings, but rather filter some out. Weigh up if it’s more beneficial for you to attend or focus on something else if it’s more pressing. What would get the best result work-wise?

Have a discussion with the meeting organiser and find out if you could be briefed some other way. If you are the one calling the meeting, decide whether or not this is the best way to communicate. Could an email be better?

  1. Have clear objectives

What do you want to achieve in your meeting? Is it doable in the meeting timeframe? Set your goals ahead of time and have an idea of what you all need to do in the meeting to achieve them. Who needs to attend? What resources do you need? This should shape your agenda.

Plan in advance and share details so people know what to expect and can move at your pace.

Of course if you can make meetings more fun, that always helps. It maximises attendance and breaks the ice to encourage better attention and participation.