6 Quick fixes for speeding up long meetings

It’s become a stereotype of business that meetings are a waste of time. It only takes one or two pointless meetings a month and every gathering gets labelled as a tedious, counter-productive activity that staff either do their best to avoid or immediately switch-off from when they sit down. So, how do you stop this from happening?

1 – Stop scheduling unnecessary meetings

Yes, face-to-face communication is important but if there’s something you can clear up over an email chain or phone call, then do it. Otherwise you’re interrupting everyone’s workflow and dragging them away from their desks unnecessarily.

2 – Do not let meetings overrun

Everyone is busy. Everyone’s time is valuable. Saying that a meeting will take an hour but letting it drag on by another 30 minutes has a knock-on effect of every single person’s day. Even if you don’t cover everything that was supposed to be, make time for that separately. Respect your colleagues’ time and they’ll respect your meetings.

3 – Avoid devolving into sub-meetings

If the structure of your meeting usually involves small groups reporting on projects that are mostly unrelated to each other, you don’t need to have everyone in the same room at once. Instead, schedule meetings beforehand (or don’t – see tip 1) to get the important details and then share only the relevant info with the larger group.

4 – Send around an agenda

Get into the habit of having a fixed plan for every meeting and sticking to it. Send the plan round to everyone at least 2 days beforehand so that they can add comments or prepare required info ahead of time to save dawdling and rambling in the meeting. This also allows people to see if their presence is actually required and whether they can contribute anything meaningful. If a new issue comes up during the meeting, agree to discuss it with the relevant parties afterwards.

5 – Use electronic voting

If you’re dealing with company change, risk assessment or any kind of town-hall vote, using an Audience Response System (ARS) is the fastest way to collate accurate feedback from everybody. Give handsets to individuals (these can be assigned to a person or anonymised) and you can have hundreds of responses gathered quickly. No noise, no fuss and the answers are recorded in easy to read charts and tables to get the data you need.

6 – Try standing up

If you don’t anticipate the meeting taking very long, don’t sit down. By staying on your feet, everyone is more inclined to keep the discussion on track and make a decision so that they can go back to their chair. Simple, but effective.

For more information about incorporating a time-saving ARS into your business practices, contact us to see how CLiKAPAD can help.