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How to Improve Productivity in Meetings

For many businesses, the topic of how to run effective meetings is incredibly important. After all, meetings play a useful role and happen frequently, but they also have the potential to become a negative drain on resources. Productivity in meetings needs to be a focus area, with steps being taken to ensure they actually deliver on what they are intended to achieve.

Read on to learn about four practices that can assist you in improving productivity in meetings. Or check out ViewSonic’s meetings solutions and devices to help enhance productivity in collaborations.

The question of how to run effective meetings is extremely important given the widespread unhappiness with how many meetings go. For instance, according to the findings of the Harvard Business Review, only 17 percent of senior executives currently believe their meetings make effective use of individual and company time.

Almost two-thirds (65 percent) claimed that meetings prevent them from doing their own work, but the more positive news was that several organizations reported improvements in attitude once they made changes to their approach. This suggests that meetings are not the fundamental issue – the effectiveness of those meetings is the problem.

In this article, we explore four practices that can help you to boost productivity in meetings at your workplace.

Learn How to Run Effective Meetings Through Planning

One of the single biggest things to focus on when looking into how to run effective meetings is the planning process. After all, some meetings are unproductive simply because there is no real plan to speak of, or because time is wasted handing out material that could have been sent to attendees in advance.

In a previous ViewSonic article, How to Run an Effective Meeting – The Complete Rundown, some of the possible issues highlighted included meetings not having a clear purpose and meetings deviating too far from the topic at hand. With that being said, both issues have simple solutions based on planning.

Essentially, you need to have a clear idea of what the aim of the meeting is and what topics need to be covered. You also need to be willing to intervene in the discussion if it deviates too far off-course or starts to focus on things that are not relevant to the aim of the meeting. This will then help to ensure the meeting achieves what it was meant to.

Upgrade Technology to Boost Productivity in Meetings

Another key contributor to improving productivity in meetings is an investment in the right technology. In particular, you want to make sure you are using reliable video conferencing software, along with top-of-the-range display technology, such as an interactive whiteboard with the latest features and solutions

Crucially, technology has a role to play in both boosting productivity and hindering it. As an example, it is estimated that around 8.7 minutes are wasted, on average, per one-hour meeting just on getting the meeting started. This is often the result of meeting room tech problems, such as connecting to display technology that badly needs an upgrade.

Yet, at the same time, findings from The Muse state that 92 percent of people admit to multitasking during meetings, with 69 percent admitting to checking emails. Therefore, the balance here is upgrading necessary meeting technology and potentially limiting unnecessary technology within the meeting to avoid distractions.

Consider Whether a Meeting is Actually Even Necessary

An overlooked aspect of poor productivity within meetings is the fact that many meetings are simply unnecessary. Therefore, another best practice would be to consider every meeting arranged by your business carefully and decide whether or not it is really necessary and who the required attendees are.

To do this, think about the purpose of the meeting and the outcome you are expecting. Could the same outcomes be achieved by sending an email or distributing material in another way? Do people need to be dragged away from their work, or could they be given the flexibility to take in the information at a more opportune time?

Some meetings are vital, regardless of any disruption caused, but a large number could be avoided or at least kept short. Progress update meetings are one of the main offenders because the information could often be made available through other means, which take up far less time and cause far less disruption to work activities.

Try to Focus More on Discussions Rather Than Lectures

The last best practice is emphasizing discussions over more lecture-style meetings when it is reasonable to do so. There may be times when someone needs to stand and deliver a presentation, but meetings are more productive when they are focused and inclusive, with everyone taking a more active role in the conversation.

Avoiding the lecture-style approach, whenever possible, can be especially important when meetings are being held remotely because it can be even easier for listeners to become distracted by their surroundings. For this reason, you should try to ask questions and bring people into the discussion as much as you can.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has gone even further, suggesting businesses should eliminate all large meetings, “unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience.” When you focus on smaller meetings, containing only those concerned, conversations are easier and more useful, while participants feel more included.


Final Thoughts

The issue of how to run effective meetings is a vital concern for any business looking to optimize overall performance. Productivity in meetings is a key concern, with many organizations finding that their current approach causes unnecessary disruption and results in inefficient meetings where people are not engaged.

To address this, you need to adopt best practices, such as planning meetings properly ahead of time and intervening if they go off course. Using the right technology can also minimize start-up times, while conversations, rather than lectures, can keep people engaged. Beyond this, you also need to think carefully about whether meetings are necessary at all. Cut out the unnecessary meetings and avoid including people in meetings when they do not need to be there.

If your current meetings seem like a waste of time, find out how you can avoid them and reduce inefficiency. To improve productivity in meetings, it is important to update technology in your meetings spaces. Explore ViewSonic’s collaboration devices and solutions for better meetings.