How to run effective (and shorter) meetings

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Meetings can be a real bore and, if not run properly, are guaranteed to waste a good chunk of your precious work day. We’ve all been in unfocussed meetings that go on several tangents, don’t produce any results, and only wrap up once someone starts complaining they’re hungry because the meeting has run over time….as usual.

Meetings don’t need to be this way! We’ve put together some tried and tested tips to help you run more effective meetings so you can get back to online shopping running the world.

Keep it exclusive
Keep your guest list small and only invite people who really need to be there. Sometimes you’ll find three representatives from one department present when only one was needed. The name of the game here is efficiency.

Bonus tip: if you’ve been invited to a meeting that you don’t need to attend, don’t be afraid to politely decline. If you’re not a key decision maker, skip it and do something more productive.

Always have an agenda
Concisely outline everything you need to cover in a meeting, including clear goals or outcomes that the meeting needs to achieve. This will ensure everyone is on the same page (literally) and serve as a tool to keep the meeting on track.

Write the agenda up in advance and send it out to your colleagues so they can prep and bring their ideas to the table.

Bonus tip: if you run regular meetings where you need others to contribute to the agenda, keep the document somewhere that everyone can add to it themselves rather than emailing you (you’ve got better things to do). Asana is a great tool for this.

Assign a chairperson and timekeeper
Keep the team on task with a chairperson to halt any discussion that doesn’t further the meeting goals and ensure everyone sticks to the agenda. They will also act as timekeeper to end the meeting on time (yes, it’s possible!) and recap any action points before everyone leaves the room.

Bonus tip: shorter meetings can create a sense of urgency and force everyone to focus so if you only need 20 minutes, only schedule 20 minutes, not 45mins ‘just in case’.

Tomi is a journalist, communications specialist and social media enthusiast. You can follow her at @tomiellis0.

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