The Truth About Meetings

6 Productivity Tips to Keep Your Meetings on Track - Focus

What if we told you that only 50% of meeting time is used effectively?

What if we said there’s evidence that remote meetings score even lower?

Believe it or not, meetings play and integral part in the overall productivity of you and your team. In fact, ineffective meetings can actually derail your productivity even after they're over.

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, many employees suffer from “meeting recovering syndrome." This term is used to capture the reality that attendees essentially lose "work time" when they have to mentally recover from a bad meeting.

Now, we know we can't get rid of meetings altogether, but what can we do to use our time more effectively and get the most of the meeting process?

Well, for starters, we have to understand exactly what an effective meeting is.

What makes a meeting effective?

How leaders run effective meetings: Meeting secrets from 5 top execs

When you think about your perfect meeting, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

For most of us, it's one word: Short.

To many employees, the ideal meeting is one that:

  1. Starts on time
  2. Stays on track
  3. Includes as few people as possible
  4. Achieves the objective at hand

Sounds like a meeting done correctly, right? Wrong.

While an efficient meeting is great, it really doesn't mean a meeting was effective.

Were the right people present for the meeting? Did the meeting generate any value for the business? 

In a lot of cases, it doesn't.

An effective meeting takes a bit of thinking time to prep. It is one that:

  1. Brings together a carefully selected group of people for a specific purpose
  2. Provides a space for open discussion and collaboration
  3. Delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list of ideas to pursue, and/or a shared understanding of the work ahead.
Now that you know what an effective meeting is, how do you go about creating one?

4 Ways To Boost Productivity In Your Next Meeting

Are your meetings effective? Read this, and they will be! – Teodesk


  1. Determine whether you actually need a meeting.
    Let's face it -- gathering everyone for a meeting isn't always necessary. Sure, in this new remote working culture, it's often used as a means to break up the day, connect with each other, and build teamwork. However, the reality is, planning unnecessary meetings usually have the opposite effect -- especially since most of us have too many meetings on our calendars already. 
    So, before scheduling your next meeting, stop and ask yourself:

    "Do I really need a meeting for this?" 

    If you can send it in an email, or post it in your TEAMS channel, do it! Everyone else on your team will thank you!

  2. Ensure your meeting has a clear purpose
    The most effective meetings are ones that are set to make a decision or create something collaboratively. This includes project planning, mapping out customer journeys, setting company goals, solving problems, etc. Before scheduling a meeting, thoughtfully carve out exactly what the point of that time is and what you want to get out of it. If you're just sharing information, you can probably do that via email.

  3. Only invite participants who can make a useful contribution
    Have you ever been in a meeting where you or some of the attendees have nothing to say? Why is that? This can be for a variety of reasons. For example, you're not in the department that is directly affected by the issue at hand, you don't work on the project that's being discussed, or you have no direct influence on the decisions being made.

    If attendees see no value in being there, they simply listen and absorb (or tune-out in most cases) what is being said, without providing any real contribution to the meeting. This isn't their fault, it's just that the meeting is not meant for that particular person/ department.

    So, consider your attendee list. What contributions are you looking for? Will your meeting plan and attendees get you the outcomes you require? Of course you want the group to bring diverse perspectives and knowledge, especially if the purpose of the meeting is decision-making or brainstorming, but meetings cost time and money -- so, try to only invite those than can provide the most bang for your buck.

    To put it in perspective: Try this meeting cost calculator the next time you are planning a meeting. It will definitely make you think twice about who you're inviting to attend!

  4. Keep Your Attendees Engaged
    No one wants their attendee's to zone out in a meeting (it kind of defeats the purpose!) So, before you even start, make sure you set your expectations for the room. We know you want everyone present, but it's okay to let your attendees know that if they have something pressing that will be dividing their time, they can go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. This way, they’ll produce better work, and you’ll have more engaged participants!

Microsoft Teams now has some great meeting features to help engage participants before, during and after the meeting!

Whether your team is in the office, fully virtual, or hybrid, our WorkingSm@rt in Meetings workshop will teach you and your team the practical processes they need to plan and attend meetings that achieve better results. Not to mention a few meeting tech tips from our experts. We have a GO/NO Go Meeting Test that works every time!

WorkingSm@rt in Meetings - on time, on track, on purpose.

Can't Commit To A Full Workshop? 

Don't worry! You can always join our 45-minute WorkingSm@rt in Meetings QuickShop!

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Cydnie Smith Cydnie Smith All author posts

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