How many meetings have you sat through and thought how pointless or unproductive it was?

According to a worldwide study by Microsoft, business people spend close to 6 hours per week in meetings. Too many of these meetings lack preparation and a clear purpose. Some employees may feel disengaged with the agenda at hand and tend to lose interest in the matter.

To run a smoothly functioning business, meetings are highly important in understanding key objectives and gathering feedback and ideas. Setting efficient and to-the-point meetings is integral to understanding all facets of your business.

Here are 8 tips for running efficient and successful meetings for your business:

1. Write down your agenda and objectives 

Prepare your meeting by jotting down the key agenda and topics you wish to cover. This will help you stay focused and not go off on a tangent. You can send this out to your staff beforehand so they can prepare.

2.  Company culture 

Embed your meetings in and around your company culture; make it fun and engaging for your staff. You want to send the message that your meetings are valuable and important. This will help ensure staff arrive on time for meetings.

3. Brainstorming session 

If your meeting is focused on solving a specific problem, it is good practice to brainstorm ideas and come to a conclusion at the next meeting. This will allow everyone to get involved.

4. Positivity 

Focus on positive communication and work on ways to overcome areas that need further attention. Don’t publicly criticise staff members and respect their opinion.

5. Summaries 

To keep meetings short, provide summaries of key topics that you will be addressing. Provide a page of document topics that are to the point.

6. Turn off devices 

Inform staff to leave their devices outside the meeting room or only answer calls if it is an emergency. Devices can cause a distraction and show that you don’t really value the meeting.

7. Thank you 

At the start and end of your meeting, always say thank you for your time and for attending today’s meeting. It shows you respect your staff and really value their input.

8. Review 

Once your meeting is finalised, it is important to gain feedback from attendees to review how well you covered topics and engaged with staff.

Once a week or fortnight, it is really important to gather your staff and departments together to ensure everyone is on the same page. It is healthy to debate certain ideas and allow everyone to speak up and have a say in regards to the business.

But no one enjoys lengthy, uninspiring meetings, therefore managers should be looking to run more efficient meetings. Meeting should always serve a purpose and include key objectives and an agenda to help engage staff.

To make meetings more fun, you may even want to include a lunch spread or after-work dinner to keep it a little casual and keep creative thoughts flowing.