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How to have effective meetings

Apr 05, 2018


Unnecessary meetings cost UK businesses £191 billion every year, according to new research 


Sick of being dragged into so many meetings and calls that you never have time to get anything done? Or bored witless by ‘weekly catch ups’ that never seem to end, where everybody’s fallen asleep and with little to show for it?

Then try some of these handy strategies for minimising those meeting marathons:

  • Set an objective and agenda: The first step is to ensure no meeting deigns to enter your calendar without a clear objective and agenda. What are you hoping to achieve and what elements are there to discuss? This allows all attendees to prepare beforehand and minimises the chance that you’ll stray off subject.
  • Only invite those who really need to be there: With your agenda sorted, you can decide who really needs to contribute to the meeting, and who can stand down and be updated afterwards. If you notice that a colleague doesn’t have a clear role, then their time is probably better spent with something more pressing.
  • Set a time limit: Be strict about starting on time, make sure everybody knows how long you have, and stick to the limit. This will ensure you stay focused, without drifting off subject. If related issues do come up that require further discussion, you can agree to ‘park it’ or ‘take it offline’ with those concerned later.
  • Follow up: Designate one of the attendees to send a follow up email, with a short summary of what was discussed, agreed and any actions and responsibilities that have come out of the meeting. That way, you won’t have to repeat the same meeting next week!