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Four Ways to Make Meetings More Productive

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Unnecessary meetings may be a major problem for your business. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 65 percent of senior managers say that meetings keep them from completing work, and 71 per cent say that meetings are unproductive and inefficient. The average worker in the UK spends a total of 187 hours per year in meetings – the equivalent to around 23 working days. Middle managers, on average, spend around 35 percent of their working time in meetings; for upper management, it is even worse - a whopping 50 percent of their time is used up by meetings.

While it is not practical to ditch meetings altogether – they still serve an important function – more can be done to make them more productive. Here we take a look at some of the key ways that you can make your meetings more valuable to your business.

Speed up decision making with audience response

Meetings are vital in terms of decision making at a high level of businesses. If you can find a way to speed up this process, it can be enormously valuable to your organization.

This is where it can make sense to incorporate an audience response system; each person in the meeting is given a keypad which synchronizes with software. Each member of the meeting can then use their keypad to vote on answers to questions, provide unbiased opinions, and give honest feedback.

Understand the individual goal of each meeting

For a meeting to be valuable to an organization, it needs to have a clear, understandable goal. Everyone who attends the meeting should understand the goal of the meeting – whether this is identifying a problem or a solution, or something much broader.

The key thing to note here is that you shouldn’t have a meeting just for the sake of it. Bring together staff only when there is a specific reason to do so.

Have a time frame – and stick to it

One major problem for meetings is that they overrun. One major reason is that they rarely start on time. It is a common occurrence to find people turning up at the meeting room minutes late, or people chatting rather than getting started. You need to set a meeting start time and ensure that proceedings start at that time.

Next, make sure meetings do not run on for too long. Meetings need to have a set finish time, and you need to be aware of when it is going to finish and hold to that.

Ban devices

If people come into your meetings and sit there tapping away on a laptop or browsing on a tablet, this can be a huge problem. It is a great idea to ban the use of any kind of device during meetings, save for what’s needed for audience feedback. This can ensure that those attending stay on topic and aren’t tempted to lose concentration or start doing other aspects of their work.


Necessary, well-run meetings are necessary for a business to stay on mission, but time is valuable. It’s important to ensure that when you call a meeting, you get as much out of it as possible.