I don’t want to assume that everyone has had many a productive day ruined by meeting after meeting. But I’m pretty sure you have. If you can’t relate, just Google, “Meeting productivity,” and you’ll get a slew of articles like “Kill Meetings to Get More Done,” and “Why Meetings Kill Productivity.”
If you still don’t believe meetings are hindering your productivity, I know money talks. Take a look at this meeting cost calculator and tell me all of those extra hours are worth it.
I’m not going to say we need to kill meetings. That’s ridiculous, you and I both know that. But we do need to change. Here are some quick, easy fixes to increase meeting productivity that you should implement today.
So you called this meeting, you’re super pumped, and you know exactly how it’s going to go down.
Yeah, you might think you know, but if you haven’t prepared anyone else for the meeting ahead of time, you’re bound to have setbacks. Prepare people for the meeting by sending out an agenda and any new materials that will be discussed a day or two ahead, if possible. If you throw new materials at everyone during the meeting, an onslaught of questions will be inevitable. You don’t want that, I know. You don’t have time for that. You have people to see and things to sell.
Pay close attention to invites
How many times have you been in a meeting doing other work, or asking yourself why you need to be there? Honestly, the number is probably too high. Don’t do that to others. Really think about why you are inviting them before you hit that “send” button. If you are still not sure, think about asking that person if they would like to be a part of that meeting or if they have anything to contribute.
Make quick meetings “standing” meetings
Yes. In “standing” meetings, you all just stand. And yes, this is effective. If you only have a few topics to discuss, why sit down? Nobody can sink back and relax at a “standing meeting”. They just think and do. No need to get comfortable, action is where productivity thrives.
Make the topic important and stick to it
First of all, you better have a really good reason for this meeting. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. We’re in sales and our time is valuable. Don’t waste it.
So we’ve got that down. You have a meeting topic and it’s important. Cool. Now stick to it. I’m serious. This is the hardest part when it’s so easy to want to talk about the new prospect you just met with or the new pricing ideas you’ve been drafting. I’m sorry, but you’re just going to annoy a lot of people when you and a few others, who seemingly have nothing do that day, start talking about the latest Walking Dead episode. (Not that it wasn’t awesome. But now is not the time.)
Another point: If individuals’ problems or questions pop up, you can always have individual, or additional group, meetings to further that conversation. Think about how it relates to what you are meeting about right now and how many people the question or problem actually relates to.
Don’t even think about going overtime
If you give yourself the option of going over time, you probably will. It’s only natural if you have nowhere to be immediately after. Although you might not, that doesn’t mean everyone else is free, also. Added bonus, the time you cut out of that meeting not only means respecting others’ time, but also your own time.
On a similar note, if you wrap up early, don’t keep everyone around. If you’re done, you’re done. You can use the extra time to work out those individual problems that popped up during the meeting.
So, what I’m trying to say is… respect others’ time. We’re in sales. Things move quickly. People have things to do and so do you. Think carefully about invites, make sure the meeting is actually important and send all the surprises ahead of time (so I guess I mean no surprises).