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How to make meetings more productive

Kerrie-Anne Chinn
2017-08-09

We all know how this scenario goes: you’ve just got into the perfect work zone, feeling 100% inspired and focused, when your alarm goes off to advise of a team meeting. By the time you get back to your desk and regain concentration, it’s only to have it broken by yet another meeting. Frustrating, right?

Many office workers know the sense of frustration that can come from too many meetings – especially when those meetings often feel pointless, disorganised or counterproductive. And when your calendar is constantly booked out with back-to-back meetings, whether virtual or in-person, it becomes very hard to find the time to carry out all those tasks discussed at meetings!

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That’s why it’s so important to make every single meeting as productive, engaging and efficient as possible. Because unfortunately, while meetings are supposed to help improve your team’s business operations, productivity and collaboration, they can actually do the opposite.

Do you really need to accept every meeting?

The first thing this course highlights is something called ‘Mindless Accept Syndrome.’ Most of us are in the habit of just accepting a meeting invitation the minute it pops up in our inbox or calendar – even when we don’t really know what it’s about or how we can add value.

But do you really need to accept every meeting invite that comes your way? In his well-known TED talk, speaker David Grady discusses the “epidemic of bad, inefficient, overcrowded meetings [that] is plaguing the world’s businesses and making workers miserable.”

According to Grady, Mindless Accept Syndrome occurs when employees automatically accept meeting invitations – without agendas, without clarity of purpose, without knowing why they have been selected to attend and not knowing what they are expected to contribute nor to achieve.

Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to change this behaviour, by proactively questioning and considering each meeting invite that comes your way.

The different types of personalities you meet in meetings

The Making Meetings Matter course also looks at some of the types of workers we can regularly come across in meetings, who may be (consciously or sub-consciously) contributing to counterproductive meetings.

We’ve all dealt with someone who likes to dominate every meeting, even when they’re not chairperson. Or the person who rambles on and on, making each meeting run overtime. Even the workplace joker can derail a productive meeting.

It’s good to be aware that even colleagues who are super nice people can often act out in negative ways during meetings. This is probably because they feel that their time is being wasted, they have deadlines and pressures back at their desk, and it all leaves them in a less than fantastic mood.

Through the course, you’ll learn how to manage these different types of personalities, with helpful advice for bringing meetings back on track.

Practical tips for designing and chairing meetings

Last, but not least, you’ll also learn practical tips for designing and leading workplace meetings. Meetings without structure are in danger of going on forever, and often employees will leave wondering why they were even present.

The online course will help you in:

  • Setting an agenda – a simple meeting agenda, distributed in advance, is perhaps the most important tool in ensuring a successful productive meeting
  • Meeting ground rules – stop people displaying disruptive behaviours in meetings, get the group to agree on ground rules about how your meetings will be run
  • Roles and responsibilities – ensure that everyone involved is crystal clear on their roles and the associated responsibilities of those roles
  • Action and follow-up – agree on tasks (action items) that should be carried out, with clear deliverables and due dates for individuals

With your new Meeting Tool Kit, you’ll also discover some of the best meeting management tools you can use in the real world.

Soon, by changing the way meetings are designed, lead and experienced, you’ll be enhancing your team’s productivity and engagement, while cutting down on pointless, frustrating meeting time. You might even make workplace meetings fun, and something that staff can look forward to!

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