Too Many Meetings? Increase your productivity!

MeetingsI realized today that I have too many damn meetings.  Whether these are conference calls, phone conversations, or in-person it does not matter.  Talking about your business does not mean you are working on or in your business.  In fact, if you are talking it is assured you are not working.

I understand issues need to be discussed, but I have fallen into the trap of talking about the business for the sake of talking about it.  We feel like we are working, but in reality we are just avoiding being productive.  This is a problem in both big and small organizations.  We have all been dragged into time wasting meetings that we did not need to attend.

How do you mitigate this problem? I have formed some tenets to ensure a successful and possibly productive meeting or business discussion.  These are all from the perspective of someone running a small organization with just a few employees.

A Sense of Urgency

Conversations and meetings about business need to be met with a sense of urgency.  These are not casual conversations about the weather. These are discussions about getting to a solution for a problem or getting feedback regarding a course of action.  It must be understood that these conversations are actually stopping you from doing what needs to be done.

Understanding the Goal

People should know exactly what you are trying to accomplish upfront when going into a meeting.  If you lay out the problem or agenda to be discussed you are starting down the right path.

Stay on Course

It is easy for these conversations to be diverted.  There needs to be focus on adherence to your agenda.  There are always more things to discuss, but the focus has to be on the topic at hand.  If conversations meander, someone has to steer it back.

End on Action

Everything in business surrounds action.  All things that lead to you making money require action and as such, all meetings must end with an action plan.

Do not Include Unnecessary People

This may be redundant but remember; every individual in a meeting is not working.  If someone brings value to the meeting then include him.  If they do not absolutely have to be there then let them do their job.

Have Time for More Casual Discussion

My business partner and I work together and do business together because we like it.  We like each other and we like our businesses.  We enjoy talking about our business.  The workday though is a time for productivity and obtaining results.  It is important to designate time for friendly and leisurely discussion.  Many times these discussions can increase understandings and strengthen relationships.  Not all good ideas come from meetings with agendas.  Make sure you take time to have lunch or the infamous happy hour, or driving discussions.

We only have a few hours of productive energy in every day; best make the most of them.

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