Meeting Tips

5 Reasons Why You Are Having Inefficient Work Meetings

Work meetings are only efficient if they're organized properly with the right tools for a productive conversation. Learn why your meetings struggle here.

Do you find yourself exhausted by bad work meetings, but you're not sure why? Could it be Zoom fatigue or something more?  Learning how to have an effective meeting can be tricky if you're not sure where you're going on.

However, there are more important things at stake than the quality of your mic or camera. As long as your office or home isn't chaotic and messy, people also don't pay as much attention to your background as you think they do. The real reason your meetings aren't working goes deeper than these superficial aspects.

Read on to learn how to have a good business meeting and the five reasons why even your planned meets tend to struggle!

1. Scheduling at the wrong time

One of the top reasons your meetings aren't successful is that you're scheduling them at the wrong time. This means that the majority of employees on your call won't be in the right headspace–even if they're on the same page as you! People work best when they're working uninterrupted on one task at a time.

Do you schedule meetings whenever you notice that there's a block of time open? This may mean that you're distracting someone from their work. This means that they'll need to put in extra mental effort in order to switch from one task to another.

It's important that you ask your employees when they usually get the most of their work done. Then, schedule regular meetings that avoid those times.

For instance, most people get the majority of their work done early morning, mid-morning, and mid-afternoon. With this in mind, try scheduling meetings later in the afternoon or before lunch.

2. No clear goal

Even if you schedule your meetings at the right time, you won't get much done if there's no clear goal. Meetings without a goal or intention can run on longer than they're needed.

You can also lose the attention of everyone involved with long meetings. Even worse, if you have a pattern of running meetings without an agenda, people will be less motivated to participate.

Here are a few examples of clear goals for meetings:  

  • Staying up-to-date on the status of a project
  • Discussing a problem you can't solve on your own
  • Making a decision that affects the group
  • Establish guidelines for a new project
  • Delivering complex news
  • And more

It's important that you set a clear goal for the meeting even before it begins. This can help you plan ahead. Make sure to notify all of the employees involved so they can also be prepared.

You'll also find that meetings with clear goals will also have clear solutions and "next steps." This will help you keep everyone more accountable and on-track.

3. No accountability

Another issue that people often encounter is no accountability or follow-up after the meeting is over. Your agenda needs to include a strong conclusion that provides the next steps. This needs to be paired with who is responsible.

For instance, picture that you're having a meeting on the status of a project. Make sure that each employee knows what's expected of them going forward by assigning tasks.

Accountability can be easier by taking more meaningful notes. Encourage everyone to document the meeting so that they can look back and keep track of what was said.

4. Too many people

Remember that you don't have to invite your entire team to every meeting. When there are too many people involved in a meeting, your agenda can quickly be derailed. The stakeholders who do matter won't have as many opportunities to speak up.

You'll also be wasting the time of people who don't need to listen to the meeting or be there. What do you do when the meeting is sharing some information that may be valuable?

Consider writing a short email that contains that information later on. You can also leave the meeting open for everyone, but only require a few people to attend.

This way, if someone is caught up with work and wants to be included, they can.

5. Running overtime

Valuing your employee's time is one of the best business meeting tips. The reason for this is because short meetings don't waste anyone's time. Your employees will be far more willing to attend and participate in the next meeting.

In order to keep your meetings short and sweet, plan ahead so that you know the main points you want to discuss. Then, leave some time near the end to answer questions. If the conversation becomes derailed, you can bring it right back to the topic at hand.

Remember that more detailed information such as guidelines can be delivered in a better way. This can be through email, Google Docs, or another note-taking app.

You can ask people to review that material before the meeting takes place. This way, they'll go into it prepared and with questions.

Creating Successful Work Meetings

If you've ever asked yourself "why aren't my meetings successful," there are probably more than a few factors at play. For instance, they may be scheduled at bad times. During those times, your employees would rather be finishing up work.

They might also be running longer than they need to be. People may feel as if their time is being wasted if they don't need to be there.

Successful work meetings are created by planning ahead and recognizing your employee's needs. Start by asking everyone directly when they would prefer to have meetings.

Ask if they have suggestions on how to improve the meetings going forward. Then, encourage everyone to take notes. They can refer to those notes in order to stay organized and accountable.

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