5 methods to use to ensure productive business meetings

business meeting

More than half of all Brits think that business meetings are useless, so how can we make sure that these meetings are actually providing value and promoting the idea of productivity, rather than simply wasting everyone’s time? Here are 5 top methods to use to turn useless get-togethers into productive meetings:

  1. The Meticulous Planning Method

Disorganisation is the biggest problem with business meetings, and a badly organised meeting holds the potential to dampen interest right from the get-go, leaving levels of productivity trailing along the floor. While it’s essential to be open to hearing new ideas and to have flexibility in how the meeting is guided, it’s also important to ensure that the meeting is meticulously planned in advance to match the subject matter, the attendees, and the length of time that you’re expecting the business meeting to go on for.

While the necessary degree of the organisation will depend on individual circumstances, some aspects that shouldn’t be overlooked are refreshment provisions for attendees (especially for long meetings), the agenda, availability of any necessary tools and technologies, and even the meeting space itself.

If your office space isn’t exactly nurturing of productivity, look into London venue hire, or venue hire near you. Meticulous planning before the meeting really is key to helping everything stay on the right track.

  1. The Timer Method

In business meetings, it’s natural that some areas of discussion will warrant greater focus than others. That’s OK! The problem comes when lower priority topics, which should only have been touched on briefly, begin to dominate the meeting.

Of course, these topics may still play a vital role in guiding the meeting down the correct pathway, so acknowledging these subject areas is essential, but to boost productivity and overall meeting success, it’s a good idea to have a way to move on when necessary.

The timer method is just that; a method that provides each individual topic or subject area with a set time period for discussion. This method is actually a longstanding, tried-and-tested technique for improving productivity.

Officially known as the ‘Pomodoro Technique’, this method is based on the idea of breaking up larger concepts into more manageable, bite-sized chunks. In terms of business meetings, the technique can be used to break the meeting down into timed segments for specific discussions. 

  1. The Participation Method

One-third of employees think that business meeting productivity is hindered by irrelevant attendees, so this is something that needs to be addressed. We can directly address this by using the participation method. The participation method is based on the idea that every single person who attends the meeting should be able to participate and have direct input. When planning a meeting, consider who is in a likely position to contribute, and think of leaving out those who can’t bring anything to the table.

This isn’t just a great way to keep meetings a little more intimate; it’s also a fantastic technique for encouraging greater discussion from those who have good ideas but are typically quieter in meetings. But participation, in this sense, doesn’t always have to mean having to share ideas; it could mean taking minutes, supporting the meeting leader, helping to make attendees feel comfortable, clarifying outcomes, or assigning duties. Always remember: there’s more than just the one way to take part!

  1. The Low Tech Method

As new, advanced technologies are being more widely adopted within the working environment, it seems natural to equip meeting attendees with a range of tech to help generate productivity. But is this really the best approach? Perhaps not.

In fact, research by Princeton University in the United States suggests that we naturally absorb more information and gain a more thorough conceptual understanding of concepts when making written notes than we do when jotting down ideas on a laptop or other device.

To ensure productive business meetings, it’s certainly worth trying out the low tech method and going back to basics. Of course, technology still has a solid place in the meeting room, and can be used for conference calling, voIP, or for presentations, but in terms of note-taking, implementing a ‘No Laptop’ policy could be just what you need to transform your meetings, boost productivity, and help attendees to better understand the topics and subject matters that are being discussed throughout the event.

  1. The Follow Up Method

One of the most important preparations you can make for any business meeting is to fully prepare a solid agenda that not only covers everything you need to discuss, but which also seamlessly guides your attendees from one topic to the next in a natural flow.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Of course, despite best efforts, this rarely happens. When you have a room full of people discussing ideas, it’s natural that the topic will be steered in different directions, and it’s possible that you could fall off track.

The follow-up method is designed to ensure that you’re able to handle these distractions in the most effective and efficient way possible; it allows for the more irrelevant of tangents to be acknowledged, rather than simply swept under the rug, while also keeping the discussion focused.

With the follow-up method, each time a discussion begins to head off course, it’s flagged for follow up. This allows you to get back to the main area of discussion, and come back to discuss these tangents at a later date.

Is the Business Meeting Dead?

Absolutely not! Business meetings are an integral part of overall business success, aiding internal communications and helping each member of the team to understand the bigger picture. However, it can’t be denied that business meetings have started gaining a bit of a bad reputation, with attendees regularly citing them as ‘useless’.

The problem, of course, is that it can be very easy to get a business meeting wrong, whether it’s failing to properly prepare, inviting the wrong people, or struggling to keep everything on track. With these 5 great methods, it’s possible to breathe new life into business meetings.