How To Salvage Unproductive Meetings

Published: August 28, 2013
By: Faye Hollands

Sitting in an unproductive meeting that bores you senseless week after week is painful and time consuming.  No-one wants to waste precious hours twiddling their thumbs, especially when you’re probably so busy that each meeting just adds another hour onto your already long day.  So what can you do if you have to go to ‘that’ meeting that regularly turns out to be a waste of time?

Turn It Around

Your time is precious, so don’t just put up with bad meetings that steal minutes and hours from your day.  Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of a bad situation: –

1.  Be proactive

If you genuinely don’t need to be in meeting that you’ve somehow found yourself attending week after week, do the smart thing and try and get out of it.  Don’t be a sheep and simply follow the herd…. speak to the organiser or your boss and see what you can do about getting the meeting culled or your participation pulled.

2.  Insist on an agenda

Meetings should always, without-fail, have an agenda – it’s the only way to make sure that everyone stays on track and to time.  So if you want to keep those time-wasting meetings moving along quickly insist on an agenda and make sure it details specifically what’s going to be covered and for how long.

3.  Stand up

Want a meeting to finish up quickly?  Make it a standing meeting!  When everyone has to stand you take away that tendency to relax, waffle, and generally waste time.  Courtney Holt, Head of MySpace Music and former head of Digital Media at MTV insists on standing meetings saying:

“I try to make every meeting – especially those that are called last minute – a standing meeting, ideally each meeting finishes as quickly as it can.”

4.  Contribute…

If you’re stuck in a meeting you don’t want to be in the chances are you’ve switched off and are doodling on your notepad or daydreaming about your next holiday.  Instead of letting your mind wander, start challenging yourself to speak up and contribute to the meeting.  What could you do to make the topics more interesting or relevant to you and your team?

Even if you can turn 5 minutes into something that’s actually interesting and useful, it’s worthwhile (but don’t just talk for the sake of it, there’s no need to make the meeting even longer for no reason!).

5.  Ask for a recap….

A great way to highlight a useless meeting is to have a recap of action items at the end.  If the meeting’s simply been an update, which could have been covered in an email, then there’s likely to be no action items and that spells a good enough reason to ditch future meetings!  If, however , there’s a long list of things to-d0 it’s a great way to keep everyone accountable and also highlights the value of the meeting.

What have you done to improve those time-waster meetings? Post a comment below, I’d love to know!

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Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.

To receive your FREE MP3 download of Faye’s popular teleseminar ‘How To Create A Career You Love‘ and weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email fayehollands@outshineconsulting.com

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email fayehollands@outshineconsulting.com

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