Have you ever dreaded going into an office meeting, feeling like nothing will be accomplished? Unproductive meetings are a drain on your energy, and can mess with your workflow for the entire day. Meetings with colleagues, staff members, and clients are a regular part of doing business, so what can you do? Instead of feeling frustrated, utilize these office organizing strategies to conduct more productive and efficient meetings.
Be clear. Before attending a meeting, define the specific purpose. Is having a meeting truly necessary? If you are sharing updates that could easily happen through an email, reconsider taking time out of your schedule (and that of the meeting attendees). If a meeting is the best course of action, then be clear about what the focus should be. Keep the meeting discussions on topic.
Only include who is necessary. The worst thing that could happen during a very busy work day is to be stuck in a meeting that has nothing to do with you. So when scheduling meetings, only invite those who really need to be there.
Create an agenda. Create an agenda that defines the topics of the meeting, designated point person for each agenda item and be sure to share it in advance with those attending. Giving everyone a chance to review the agenda allows them to prepare accordingly so that the topic can be addressed in a timely manner and not postponed. Provide copies of the agenda at the meeting or display them on a drop-down screen. Visually seeing the agenda makes it easier to stay on task and not waste time on unrelated topics.
Be on time. If you want others to think your time is valuable, then you need to treat their time the same way. Set a start and end time to the meeting and stick to it. If you always start a meeting late, then the attendees will become lax about their arrival time. Be at the meeting location and ready to go a few minutes early, setting the expectation that everyone should be on time.
Eliminate distractions. The quickest way to lose precious minutes is to get swept away with distractions… people popping in and out of the room and incoming emails or text messages that draw your attention away. Start meetings by putting your phone away, closing the door, and zeroing in on the topic of discussion. Keep the conversation focused on the agenda so you aren’t wasting time going off on unrelated tangents.
Follow up. There is nothing worse than spending an hour at a meeting, getting back to your desk, and forgetting much of what was discussed. If your co-workers contact you all afternoon asking questions because they missed what was covered at the meeting, you’ll be even further behind on your own tasks. Instead, always follow up after a meeting. Send an email with the important notes, include deadlines and task assignments.
Productive meetings are a game-changer in your office. Implement these strategies and you will see a difference right away. For more hands-on office organizing strategies, reach out to your NYC Professional Office Organizer.