When hosted poorly, meetings can be lengthy, inconclusive, and potentially waste money in productivity loss. The average in-person meeting lasts an hour and 44 minutes, according to research by Verizon. To most employees (47 percent), meetings are considered the biggest time-waster in the office, a survey by Salary.com found.
Meetings can be so dull, in fact, 92 percent of people admit to daydreaming during meetings, and 39 percent have even dozed off to sleep, according to Verizon.
Most alarming, Atlassian estimates companies spend $37 billion in unnecessary meetings.
Meetings don’t need to be a snooze-fest, wasting everyone’s time and money. They can be productive and even inspire employees. Here are 10 ways successful entrepreneurs host meetings in a way that makes them feel productive and meaningful:
1. End Meetings with Assignments
Meetings should start with a purpose and end with a list of assigned responsibilities to be executed. Start meetings by focusing on a problem that needs to be addressed. Keep the meeting focused on resolving that particular issue. Meetings should end with a list of responsibilities that are assigned to the meeting participants. Use the meeting to create trajectory for the team moving forward. – Christophor Jurin, Construct-Ed, Inc.
2. Have a Written Agenda
Every meeting should have a written agenda, beyond just a loose topic. Often times meetings are based on a general topic and become unstructured and go off on tangents. Having a bullet-point agenda allows for people to focus on exactly why the meeting is being called. – Phil Chen, Systems Watch
3. Give Each Person One Chance to Speak
One major reason meetings devolve into chaos is that there is no direction or structure. People just say whatever comes to mind and the conversation goes nowhere. Remedy this by giving each person just one chance to give their input. Have them prepare beforehand. Then go around the room, let each person speak, then open conversation. Doing so will give the discussion much more structure. – Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com
4. Turn Off Tech
For a laser focused meeting, we do “turn off tech” gatherings where we remove everything from the room with a screen, beep, or “on” button. No distractions but the human faces before you make for a expedited exchange of ideas, content and commitments to get stuff addressed. – Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications
5. Send Meeting Notes Afterwards
One thing that we started doing after our manager meetings was write up the notes and email them around to the entire company. The notes were helpful to the people who had just been in the meeting; when you receive them afterwards it crystallizes things further. More importantly, it made the whole company feel more informed and connected. – Luke Skurman, Niche.com
6. Hold Them Offsite
When there’s an important departmental meeting, we schedule it somewhere offsite — whether at a restaurant, meeting room in a hotel, or even in the park if it’s a beautiful day. This means it’s locked off in people’s schedules, they think of it as an “event” that must be attended and in-office distractions like phone calls, co-worker meet-ups and interruptions are eliminated. – Jeff Fernandez, Grovo Learning, Inc.
7. Keep Organized With a Trello Board and Color Coding
We built a Trello board to run our team meetings, with color-coded filters based on what aspect of our business goal it aligns to. Teams are responsible for reporting and updating their progress, so we’re able to track cross-functional team-wide initiatives over time. This allows meetings to run more smoothly and productively, and lets every team’s voice be heard. – Abby Ross, ThinkCERCA
8. Keep Them Short
I think quick meetings throughout the week are imperative, especially when team members are remote. First, make sure they are on a set day and time so everyone can plan on them. I typically put together a slideshow agenda that I email out afterwards and update Wunderlist with specific homework items. – Eric Schaumburg, eventr.io
9. Keep the Topics Focused
Try to stick to as few topics a possible; one is ideal. That way you’re not dividing your team’s attention and time in several directions. By focusing on one issue, you’ll hopefully solve it and move forward, rather than just “touch” several topics. Less is more, as they often say. – Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
10. Only Include the People Who Need to Be There
Meetings aren’t inherently a waste of time. They’re a necessary collaboration tool. But meetings become a waste of time when they involve too many people who don’t really need to be there. The simple solution: When you get ready to send a calendar invite to your team, ask yourself, “Do all of these people really need to be in the room?” – Chris Ostoich, BlackBookHR
These are the top results from a survey of entrepreneurs on the topic of core company culture values, provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
About Ilya Pozin:
Serial entrepreneur, writer and investor. Founder of Pluto TV, Open Me, and Ciplex. Writer for Forbes and Inc. Husband 1x, father 2x, entrepreneur 3x. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date.