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We have all been in meetings where we have found them not only to be a complete waste of our time but to also have a negative impact on our overall performance.

When meetings are conducted effectively, they inspire, allow for innovation, and lead to high performance.

Implementing the below simple techniques could have a drastic impact on your performance.

Question the purpose of any meeting

You only have so many hours in your day so question the purpose of a meeting before accepting to attend. It is very easy to accept a meeting request without realising that this time could be allocated somewhere else.

To help you determine whether attending the meeting is necessary put a dollar value on your time to decide whether you should be allocating that value to another important task. 

Also, when accepting a meeting invitation make sure the right amount of time has been allocated.  By default, we often set 1-2 hour meetings when we only need 30 to 45 minutes. The shorter the time allocated the more to the point and direct everyone is. You will be surprised at how much more you will get through when allocating a shorter period.

Plan

When attending a meeting make sure there is a plan in place outlining the agenda, the purpose of the meeting, the topics to be discussed, what needs to be achieved, who needs to attend and the action items that need to be taken away from the meeting.   This will help to avoid confusion and/or time wasted on discussing items that are not relevant.

During the meeting, there needs to be someone leading the meeting to make sure everyone stays on track. This person should be confident enough to bring everyone back on track when others start to go off on a tangent.  A good rule of thumb is to always start with the most important items first to avoid rushing these issues at the end.

Be proactive and follow up

At the end of a meeting, make sure time is taken to complete a quick review of the highlights of the meeting to ensure everyone knows their next steps.  If you have been give any action items you should also take a few minutes immediately afterwards to decide and plan when you are going to complete your tasks.

Follow up is also critical to confirm who is responsible for what task and to ensure attendees are clear on the meeting decisions.  A final copy of the decisions made and the action items created during the meeting should also be sent to all attendees.

 

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