Tips to making internal meetings more productive:
1. List what you need from attendees and let them know in the meeting invitation
2. Re focus ‘off topic’ meeting discussion by writing off topic items onto a list of ideas for ‘future discussion’.
3. Write ideas and thoughts onto a whiteboard where people can see them, this frees up brain-power for valuable thinking
4. Rather than booking standard one hour or half hour meetings, customise the time to your specific agenda – consider if it could be 15 or 30 minutes
5. Block out time in your calendar to prepare for your meetings
All internal meetings should have a clear agenda and result in a definite outcome.
Alternative options to internal meetings
- Collect information by visiting people’s desks or calling them
- Run a survey to collect opinions
- Start a blog where people so people can discuss ideas in an unstructured way.
- Create a team wiki so that relevant people can input their ideas on-line
- Post a question on a discussion board for relevant people to answer
- Use email with voting buttons to gather input to make decisions
- Send a group voicemail
Some of these alternatives sound tricky, but are actually quick and easy to set up, just click on the links above for instructions.
Run meetings with fewer people
There are usually only a few key contributors in each meeting. Schedule some time now to review meetings you chair and amend the attendee list to include only key contributors.
For those who need to know what’s going on but don’t have a contribution to make consider:
- Sending a summary email
- Sending meeting minutes
- Create a video or podcast to share information
- Starting a blog where can comment on the ideas generated.
- Create a story for the Group NewsRoom or Weekly Newsletter
Decline meeting where you are not a key contributor
Consider each meeting invitation carefully. Decline invitations where your attendance is not crucial: ask for an update instead.