Tips for Hosting Productive Meetings

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 3, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Meetings are a common event in a workplace, and these gatherings can be an effective way to share new information, discover ideas and connect with colleagues. If you frequently attend or host work meetings, it can be helpful to adopt practices that ensure a productive meeting. In this article, we explore some tips on how to prepare for and conduct productive meetings.

18 tips for having productive meetings

Mindfulness of how you are conducting and participating in your company's meetings helps you and your team accomplish more during the time you have. If you would like to have more productive meetings, consider these tips:

Schedule short meetings

When possible, try to keep meetings short. To ensure this, it can help to schedule meetings that are around 15 to 20 minutes long. This helps both you and the other participants stay focused on the objective you want to discuss. Shorter meetings also allow professionals to return to their regular work activities sooner.

Allow breaks in longer meetings

If the subject matter of the meeting cannot fit within a short time frame, consider allowing brief breaks during the meeting to get refreshments or to process the meeting's events. Consider planning a short and fun activity to serve as a break for the meeting. For example, allowing participants to socialize for a short period can serve as a relaxing break for the meeting's participants, which also helps the speaker or speakers rest and prepare for the rest of the meeting.

Encourage complete focus

Laptops, phones and side conversations can be distracting during a meeting. To encourage participation and focus, try to limit the use of technological devices during your meetings and set aside time for socializing before or after the meeting if needed.

Related: 10 Ways To Improve Your Focus at Work

Invite only those who need to be in the meeting

When deciding who to invite to the meeting, try to consider who is most essential to it. Meetings with a smaller number of participants may be more productive, so inviting only essential employees helps you ensure that everyone stays on topic. It also allows employees who do not need to attend to continue their work undisturbed.

Use a routine meeting structure

In addition to planning an outline for your meetings, consider using the same meeting structure when you can. This helps professionals understand what to expect from each meeting and makes it easier to plan more meetings in the future.

For example, if you're new holding a meeting to discuss ideas for a new marketing campaign, a schedule with flexibility may be more effective. However, if the meeting is to discuss new company rules, it may be more useful to structure it in a way that lets the speaker share their information without any interruptions for a set period of time.

Related: 10 Different Types of Working Meetings

Send reminders

Prior to the meeting, send reminders about its location and time. Consider sending a reminder the day before the meeting as well as an hour before. This helps employees plan their day's schedule and provides a reminder that ensures they are aware of the meeting if they are busy during their workday.

Share an objective statement

At the beginning of the meeting, consider sharing a clear objective statement on what you hope to accomplish. This ensures the meeting stays on topic and helps you reach your objective.

For example, if the purpose of the meeting is to review safety habits in the workplace, you may share an objective statement such as this:

In this meeting, we want to establish new safety protocols and share helpful tips to stay safe on the job.

Plan ahead

Consider planning the structure of the meeting beforehand. Some even find it useful to share an outline of the meeting's events before it starts to ensure that everyone can follow the meeting's schedule.

Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to carefully consider each meeting topic to determine its relevance and the best way to present it. Sharing the schedule with all participants also ensures that everyone is aware of the appropriate time to ask questions.

Read more: Planning Meetings: How To Manage and General Meeting Tips

Change the environment

Meeting in new locations or web applications can help encourage creativity and allow professionals to experience a unique environment. If possible, consider rotating meeting locations. For some meetings, it is even helpful to consider an informal location.

For example, if you are planning a brainstorming meeting with your colleagues, consider suggesting a meeting over coffee or tea to encourage a more conversational and personal approach.

Set a time limit

Regardless of whether you're planning on a short meeting or a longer one, setting a time limit ensures the meeting doesn't take up more time than necessary. Making the time limit known to all participants can also encourage professionals to only share relevant thoughts and concerns.

Offer follow-up details

Sharing details or a summary of the meeting after it has ended helps remind professionals of the meeting's discussion. This is especially helpful when sharing information such as workplace statistics or new policies.

Consider making these follow-up details available to all employees when relevant. This allows those who didn't need to attend or weren't able to attend to be aware of what took place in the meeting.

Monitor the discussion

One way to ensure your meeting is succinct and productive is to monitor the discussion. This means to be mindful about who is speaking and keep the conversation limited to only specific topics. Monitoring the discussion can shorten the meeting duration and leave more time for professionals to work on their daily work duties.

Assign tasks

Assigning tasks during or after the meeting can help participants stay focused. For example, consider establishing a rotating schedule to assign a participant to take notes for the meeting. You could also ask different participants to lead the meeting when applicable and ask others to accomplish specific tasks after the meeting that pertained to the subject matter. For example, if a company hosts a meeting about customer satisfaction, the meeting leaders may assign some professionals to ask customers to take satisfaction surveys.

Assigning tasks also gives employees the opportunity to participate in a more active way, which helps to retain the information and increase workplace satisfaction.

Read more: How To Delegate Work To Employees: Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

Host fewer meetings

Before scheduling a meeting, consider alternative ways to accomplish your goal or purpose. If you can share the meeting information in an email or office memo, consider using those methods instead. Hosting fewer meetings helps make each one more impactful because it isn't a routine event. This also allows for professionals to continue their regular workdays more frequently.

Share questions instead of topics

When introducing a concept or subject in a meeting for further discussion, try to ask questions instead of sharing the topic. This helps foster a more purposeful conversation. For example, if you are discussing marketing strategies during your meeting, try asking a specific question like:

How can we better market towards young women?

This can be more effective than simply mentioning marketing strategies because it addresses a specific concern.

Make attendance optional when possible

Whenever possible, consider making attendance at meetings optional. Though it is helpful to encourage participation, allowing each professional to make their own choice about whether they should attend ensures the attendees are only those who are prepared and interested in the meeting.

Start on time

Try to always start meetings at the pre-determined start time. This ensures that professionals set aside an accurate amount of time for the meeting and starts a trend that encourages employees to be on time.

Establish rules

Try to establish meeting rules that either apply to all meetings or just certain types of meetings. Establishing clear meeting rules can ensure each participant is respectful and can allow the meeting to be more productive.

One example of a rule you could set may be having employees raise their hand when they have something to add to the conversation. This could help ensure professionals can speak without getting interrupted while also allowing participants to share their new ideas and perspectives.

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