Ask any professional what their least enjoyed part of work is, and they’ll likely say the meetings. Meetings are so often the bane of professional life, as they are seen to be major time wasters.

Meetings can be a powerful tool for collaboration and decision-making, but they can also be a significant drain on time and productivity if they’re not run effectively. 

Here are some tips for running meetings more efficiently:

Set clear Objectives

Before the meeting, establish clear objectives for what you want to achieve. This will help keep the discussion focused and ensure everyone works toward a common goal.

Prepare an Agenda

Prepare an agenda ahead of time, and share it with participants. This will help everyone come prepared and know what to expect. Stick to the agenda and avoid letting discussions stray too far off-topic.

Invite the Right People

Invite only those who need to be involved in the discussion or decision-making process. Too many people in the room can lead to unnecessary distractions and delays.

Start and End on Time

Begin the meeting on time, and don’t wait for latecomers. Similarly, end the meeting on time, even if not all agenda items have been addressed. This will encourage participants to be punctual and use their time better. Additionally, starting (and ending) a meeting on time makes it easier for attendees to plan their day around the meeting.

Encourage Participation

Encourage everyone to participate in the discussion and ensure no one dominates the conversation. If someone is not contributing, ask them for their thoughts or feedback.

Summarize and Assign Action Items

At the end of the meeting, summarize the key points discussed and assign action items to each participant. This will help ensure that everyone knows what they need to do next.

Follow Up

Follow up after the meeting to ensure that action items are addressed, and progress is made. This will help keep everyone accountable and on track.

By following these tips, you can run meetings more effectively and use everyone’s time and energy. While not every tip will work for every meeting, the majority of them will help make your meetings flow more comfortably and waste less time.