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10 ways to ensure that meetings are efficient and effective (1/2)

In our previous blog we learned about 5 behaviors that we must avoid at all costs in work meetings. In addition to this, in work meetings there is a better way to take advantage of time and make it truly valuable.

Here are ten practices you can implement to improve the effectiveness of business meetings and reduce the factors that trigger dysfunctional behaviors:

1. Determine if the meeting is necessary

It is easy to suggest a quick meeting to resolve details of projects, tasks or problems. But before scheduling it, consider whether the meeting is really necessary, what you plan to accomplish, and why an in person meeting is better than just sending an email.

2. Estimate an exact duration of the meeting time

Calculate the parameters throughout the discussion. Most people schedule meetings for the predetermined time of an hour or thirty minutes, and then usually occupy that time. But if the discussion will only take 15, 18 or 25 minutes, set a more suitable duration and save time.

3. Set the agenda ahead of time and stick to it

Without a set agenda, meetings are more likely to drift. Create an agenda ahead of time, including suggested timelines for each agenda item, and send it to everyone in the meeting. Allow participants to comment and add items to the agenda. Then make sure to stick to the agenda during the meeting.

4. Include a clear goal and expectations about the meeting in the invitation.

Once you have an agenda it's time to send the meeting invitation. Be sure to include the intended purpose for the meeting and any expectations you have of the attendees. With this advance set, attendees know what's to come and can be asked to get involved and be prepared.

5. Invite the right people

Inviting the right people is as important as setting the agenda. Invite people to join the discussion and not just be there as spectators. Also, it has become very easy to invite everyone who may be interested or have an opinion on the topic. However, this is where meetings can cost the most. By limiting the number of attendees, the meeting is shortened, encourages participation, and improves accountability.

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