Managing Meetings To Keep Staff Happy And Productive

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One of the most common complaints amongst office workers is that they have too many meetings. What they usually mean is that they have too many unproductive meetings. While this may be a sign of poor time-management in the case of people who simply accept too many meeting invitations, it’s often fair to say that many employees are instructed to attend meetings, which makes it particularly frustrating if they are run badly. Here are some tips out of making the most of them. 
Have A Clear Purpose To The Meeting 
Each meeting invitation should have not only the logistical details of the meeting, but also its purpose, which is arguably more important than an agenda, although an agenda should ideally be included for every meeting which is scheduled for longer than 15 minutes. 
Once the purpose of a meeting is defined, it easier to decide who should be invited and why, but also makes it easier for the relevant people to prepare for the meeting. To encourage this, it can help to list the participants and why they were included. For example, if the meeting goal is to review the departmental budget, the various team leaders can be invited to discuss what funds their particular team will require. 
Keep Your Eye On The Clock 

Getting the purpose and agenda right, should give you a working idea of your priorities. It’s the job of whoever is chairing the meeting, usually the organizer, to keep people on track. If you find that you are heading towards time out before you are through because of legitimate feedback, then unless it’s crucial to keep people in place to meet a deadline, you should do a time-check with the people in the room. They may have other commitments and if you need them, then ideally you should reschedule. 
Make Sure Any Visuals Are Visible 
A standard annoyance at meetings is PowerPoint slides where the text is too small to be read from the back of the room. This is often a result of another annoyance, which is people loading up PowerPoint slides with details which could be better communicated by other means and then just reading straight off them without adding any value. PowerPoint is best used for communicating key points, put the details on handouts. 
Make Sure The Audible Is Actually Audible 
This may not be an issue in smaller meeting rooms, but as rooms get larger make sure all participants can be heard, even if this means wearing microphones. For conference calls make sure you have a speakerphone which is up to the job for the size of room you are using. 
Keep Accurate Notes 
People forget what was said at meetings, sometimes genuinely, sometimes because it suits them to do so. That’s why it’s important to have a designated person to take notes or more formal minutes. When meetings really matter, it can be hugely helpful to record them and have a specialist transcription company take care of making an accurate record of the event.
The author spent 15 years in financial services and if she’d been given a pound for every pointless meeting she’d had to attend, she’d have been retired years ago. As it is, she now works full-time as a freelance writer and translator. When she’s not working, she’s usually walking or pampering her dog.

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