There are fewer things that team members loathe more than unproductive meetings. Whether the meeting is held in the morning or right after lunch, listening while sitting in one place for more than 30 minutes can be one of the hardest tasks for anyone. However, being thoroughly prepared for a meeting can cut meeting times significantly, and keep your team engaged. 

If you're looking to conduct more effective and efficient meetings use our "4-Step ReCipe for Conducting Crazy Productive Meetings" and you'll be a meeting hero!

1. COMMUNICATE

Always send out your meeting agenda no less than 24 hours in advance. This gives attendees the opportunity to understand what will be discussed, and lets them know if they'll be asked to present or perform any action items prior to the meeting. If they know what is expected beforehand, they can properly prepare themselves to share the necessary information during the meeting.

2. CONCISE

Another thing attendees dread more than unproductive meetings are unproductive meetings that last forever. This is a sure way to end up in a room filled with attendees acting like toddlers twiddling their thumbs staring at the clock and waiting for freedom.  During your meeting preparation time, make a list of your key talking points and get straight to the point come meeting time.

Remember your meeting attendees are likely breaking away from tons of work they need to finish, so be mindful of their time and stay on task. We suggest creating a “Parking Lot” for questions and/or new ideas; those are often the culprits that extend meeting times. Encourage attendees to ask questions and share their ideas during the “Parking Lot” session. This will help you stay on track, and the attendees will appreciate having a dedicated time to contribute.

3. CLARIFY

View this time as a “Q & A” session. Use this time to clarify any items attendees do not thoroughly understand. You do not want to end the meeting until you are certain that everyone is on the same page, and are aware of the purpose of the meeting. Remember this is the time that you allow attendees to further explain their non-agenda items, suggestions or questions that were placed in the “Parking Lot. This is their time to speak. 

4. CLOSE OUT

When everything on the agenda has been discussed, new ideas have been addressed, and you've made sure that everyone is on the same page, proceed to delegate tasks and establish deadlines. A meeting that ends without defining the post-meeting plan of action risks the chance of losing its momentum. Therefore, you should ensure everyone understands, acknowledges, and is aware of the new game plan before you close out the meeting.