Meetings are an unavoidable by-product of the workplace. Managers conduct meetings to inform their employees on business matters, to set agendas on existing projects and to discuss any issues the business is facing. Despite best intentions, employees often detest attending meetings as they perceive them to be a waste of valuable time and energy. This is particularly true in the event where meetings fail to address key focusses and instead digress from the important issues, leaving employees none the wiser.

With many businesses attempting to increase productivity and engagement within the workplace, one area that should not be neglected is how management conduct meetings. It is important to take into account the ever changing workforce, harnessing the attention of younger and older employees alike.

1. Setting an agenda

There is nothing worse than attending a meeting where there is no clear-cut direction and employees have no clue as to what will be covered. Where possible, devise a meeting schedule or plan, which details what topics will be addressed and the length of time each topic will be covered for.

This is particularly useful if you require participation from your employees or if you wish to facilitate a team discussion to develop ideas. Sometimes forward planning allows for greater success in meetings and more productive outcomes

2. Keep them small

When you are working on a project, it is easy to get carried away in the enormity of the task at hand. This also applies to meetings held regarding the project. For a meeting to be truly productive, keep the number attending small.

We have all heard the saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. Well within meetings having too many voices and opinions can be more of a hindrance than a benefit, as it can cause the meeting to run for an extended period of time with no real conclusion being reached. Smaller numbers allow for more flexibility and for conversations to flow more freely.

3. Add a sense of fun

Don’t turn a meeting into an hour long presentation whereby someone reads monotonously from a set of PowerPoint slides. This will only cause attendees to immediately disengage, making the meeting a pointless venture.

Try bringing some fun creative energy into the proceedings. If you want your employees to come up with new ideas why not try an exercise such as stocking up, which encourages participants’ to stretch their creativity by finding connections between unrelated objects or concepts. This will encourage employees who usually take a back seat in meetings to become more actively involved and invested in the process.

4. End your meeting the right way

Meetings can cover a large amount of ground, and so it is easy to forget some of the important points that were brought up. Aside from taking minutes of the meeting and distributing them to all attendees, be sure to round up each meeting with a recap, whilst also assigning tasks which need to be actioned prior to the next meeting. The last thing anyone wants is to rehash something that has already been discussed, so it’s important to end a meeting with a set of key action points.