As meetings have become easier due to technology, they have also become more frequent and often less productive. Today, many workers feel meetings are too big a distraction and a waste of time. You can change your meetings with these ideas to make them more productive.

The Agenda

Every meeting should have an agenda, laying out what issues will be discussed and what the goals are. Sending the agenda out in advance can help everyone arrive at the meeting more prepared. Move through your agenda at the meeting, setting next steps and assigning roles as you go. If other issues arise, make a note of them to discuss at another time.

The Guest List

Once you’ve set the agenda, you can decide who should be included in the meeting. Include only those people who have something to actively contribute to the issues at hand – not every meeting needs to include everyone who works on a project. For larger informational meetings, make attendance optional.

Summarize

At the end of each meeting, summarize the action plan moving forward, who is in charge of each task, and when it should be done by. Doing this can help make sure everyone leaves the meeting on the same page. You should also send out this summary via email for reference, and to keep other interested parties up to speed.

Stand Up

Studies show that meetings conducted while standing are up to 25% faster than sit-down meetings. Allowing people to stay on their feet and move around can increase engagement and get decisions made faster for a more productive meeting.

End Early

Everyone enjoys the surprise of a meeting that ends early. This leaves time for smaller groups to discuss specific issues and get ready for their next meeting or obligation. Allowing this time will help reduce stress and make your meetings more pleasant and easier to attend.

Meetings are necessary for collaborative projects, but often they are inefficiently run. By taking the time to plan an agenda and making a few changes to the usual routine, you can have a more productive meeting.