Top 10 Ways to Conduct More Productive Meetings

TechRepublic.com has rounded up its best advice for making meetings pay off. We've also included some stories from our archives to round out each piece of advice.

1. Determine whether the meeting really is necessary. Even if you determine that a meeting is really necessary, does it have to be in person? Consider a telephone or video conference call, which can save time, money, and energy.

2. Be punctual. If you’re the chair, try to end the meeting on time. Attendees have other commitments, and keeping them late is unfair to them and to the others with whom they have commitments. 

3. Be wary of recapping for latecomers. By doing so, you are in effect starting the meeting over.

4. Be prepared. Reviewing the agenda and being prepared with comments saves time for everyone.

5. Have an objective. When planning a meeting, therefore, ask yourself “What do I want to see as a result of this meeting?”

6. Publicize the agenda. Having and distributing an agenda prior to a meeting alerts attendees to the nature of that meeting. 

7. Be clear about responsibilities. In your agenda and in conversations beforehand, be clear about your expectations for the attendees. 

8. Address important things first. In your meetings, as in other aspects of your life and work, try to address the most important issues first. Get them out of the way, so that if you do run out of time, all you have left are the less important things.

9. Avoid being distracted by side issues. It’s easy, during a meeting, to be distracted by side issues. If that happens, you risk losing control of your agenda and the meeting itself. Is the issue one that really needs to be addressed right now? Does it need to be resolved to continue the meeting? If not, consider “parking” it.

10. Document your meeting. Within a day or two after the meeting, distribute minutes so people have a record of it. 

Source: TechRepublic