meetings, workplace, efficiency, productivity

How to Make Your Meetings More Effective

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No one gets excited for meetings. Each one marks a time on your calendar that you are forced to delay all other work, postponing what you’ve been working on to update others about your progress. Anyone who has ever run a meeting knows the challenges: to keep people focused, to keep people engaged, to cover everything you need to without letting the meeting get too lengthy. But at the end of the day, meetings are important. They allow us to flush out bad ideas, brainstorm new, innovative ideas, and organize everyone so they feel like they are on the same page. But how do we ensure that each meeting is a successful one? How do we keep people engaged, while still being productive? Luckily for you, we have searched articles and research papers to bring to you the best advice to make your next meeting a great one.

Increase Information Availability. A recent study by the Journal of Business Research showed that meetings can actually be a key way to increase empowerment within employees. However, it relies on one key factor. Specifically, empowering meetings rely on information availability. The easier it is for employees to easily access the information they need, the more productive the meeting will be. Additionally, it will allow employees to feel like they achieved more throughout the meeting, causing them to feel more empowered and positive about the next meeting.

Reduce Status Updating and Increase Problem Solving. A recent study analyzing stand up meetings collected interviews and empirical data from over 70 meetings, and analyzed the most positive and negative contributing factors for each meeting. It showed that employees feel more positively about meetings when they focus on information sharing and problem solving/discussion. However, they felt negatively about meetings that focused around status updating, and were long in duration. Aim to keep a schedule of what you need to discuss each meeting, and work to stick to this schedule in as short a time as possible. Additionally, establishing a way in which your employees can update superiors through quick technological means will allow for less time in each meeting to be spent on status updating, and more time to be allowed for problem solving.

Take a Walk. Here at United Eventures, we love the Ted Talk by Nilofer Merchant, which you can find on our About Us page. Merchant talks about the sedentary lifestyle that so many of us live in the modern age. She mentions a time when she was asked to meet with someone as he walked his dog. She has applied this idea to create “walking meetings” which means that less and less of her meetings are done in an office. Not only has she felt like she is being more active, but also that a walking meeting allows people to be less entrenched in their views, and has actually led people to talk in a more collaborative, agreeable manner. Although this cannot be used for all meetings, it is a great idea for catch-up or brainstorming meetings. Try carrying a notepad or voice recorder to catch important information and new ideas.

Optimize Your Virtual Meetings. Virtual meetings have been used extensively for many useful reasons. However, when applied improperly, virtual meetings can be frustrating, increase confusion, or waste time. A recent study demonstrated three main components to a successful virtual meeting. 1) Look at your worker’s perception of productivity. Do your workers feel like the virtual meetings are increasing productivity? Believe it or not, this perception is actually just as important as the actual productivity during the meeting itself. 2) Create clear behavioral steps for how your employees should use the technology and act during virtual meetings. Behavioral steps should outline a company’s policies and guidelines of how people should behave within virtual meetings. Currently, far less ownership exists within virtual meetings as compared to on-site meetings, and this will work to close that gap. 3) Focus on your company’s virtual maturity. The more exposure and experience your company has to virtual meetings, the more successful each one will be (which makes sense). Companies that are equipped to have external virtual meetings will be far more successful with their internal ones. A general rule of thumb is if you don’t feel comfortable using your technology or organization methods for an external virtual meeting, you should not be using these tactics and technology for your internal meetings. Overall, the implementation of virtual meetings may show an immediate increase in productivity, decreased travel time, etc. but this will eventually level off. Virtual maturity means that you must work to transition your virtual meetings past the replacement stage (in which you are simply using these types of meetings in place of on-site meetings) and transitioning to an integration stage. Remember that virtual meetings are different from on-site ones, and your company should be developing techniques and policies that work specifically for virtual meetings. Using virtual meetings simply because people are in different locations is not virtual maturity. Instead, utilize tools that transition virtual meetings into something that allows for effective collaboration.

Lindeblad, Peter A., Yuliya Voytenko, Oksana Mont, and Peter Arnfalk. "Advancing Sustainable Solutions: An Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Research Agenda." Journal of Cleaner Production 123 (2016): n. pag. Web.

Allen, Joseph A., Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, and Stephanie J. Sands. "Meetings as a Positive Boost? How and When Meeting Satisfaction Impacts Employee Empowerment." Journal of Business Research (2016): n. pag. Web.

Stray, Viktoria, Dag I.K. Sjøberg, and Tore Dybå. "The Daily Stand-up Meeting: A Grounded Theory Study." Journal of Systems and Software114 (2016): n. pag. Web.
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    So powerful, and a total recognition indeed. Even though death can manifest itself in so many different ways, the pain and loss seem to be universal. Death also raises a lot of questions, some difficult or even impossible to answer, some demands a complete reassessment of ourselves.Thanks for sharing!LoveDaniel

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