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How to Make the Most Out of Your Business Meetings

Business meetings are a necessity in the corporate world.

As HRM America reports, according to recent research, there are over eleven million business meeting in the United States every single day. That’s over four billion business meetings every year.

From a large, enterprise-wide seminar to 20-minute quick scrum with a few people you’re working on a project with, there’s a number of ways to exchange the ideas with your colleagues.

However the problem is, business meeting, at least these days, aren’t too effective. According to research from Microsoft, an average employee spends 6 hours in meetings every week and a vast majority of employees – around 70% – feel like these meetings are a “waste of time.”

And these meetings comes at a cost.

According to a 2013 study European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, companies around the world spend more than 37 billion dollars on meetings per year.

So the bottom line is – you probably have a ton of meetings every year, your company spends a ton of money on them, and you’re not very good at them. So how you deal with this problem.

What’s the Problem?

Before you start finding the solutions, you first need to establish what’s the actually problem you’re your meetings. Lucky for you – and a number of business leaders across the world – numerous organizational psychologist have looked into why so many business meetings aren’t too effective.

And here are a couple of main reasons why people have unproductive meetings:

You concentrate on the time and the tasks

In most cases, when you head to a meeting, you concentrate on the time that’s past and you can’t wait to end a meeting at a 15, 30 or 45 minute mark. But as Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO explains, you have to concentrate on the task at hand and not the time. You have to set an agenda, go through every item on it and only after that finish the meeting.

You listen to loudmouths rather than experts

People in general don’t really know how to distinguish experts on the topic they are discussing and in most cases, simply listen to the loudest person in the room. As Bryan L. Bonner explains in his Wall Street Journal interview, we tend to rely on “loudmouths” for expertise too often, but just because a person is really loud it doesn’t mean that they know what they are talking about.

You always show up late on your meetings

Recent research has shown that whopping 37% of meeting start late, and in most cases, it’s because someone is late for it. So if you’re always late to your meetings, you probably come off rude to your employees, and they always feel frustrated and disrespected. All of that eventually drives their performance down.

How to Improve Your Meetings?

In-person meetings have a great potential do deliver value to your company, so you cannot allow the people to feel like they’ve just wasted an hour of their lives on useless information delivered in a mono-tone, downright boring voice. So to get the most out of your daily meeting you should:

Setting the stage

The first and foremost thing you must ensure is that the meeting room is well-lit, providing a comfortable atmosphere, and that the room temperature is adjustable for everyone’s comfort. Also, verify that all the essential equipment in the room is in proper working order. Additionally, ensure that both the room and the seating arrangements are neat. If you want to go the extra mile, you can consider a thorough cleaning service before the meeting by hiring a skilled cleaner from firms like Foreman Pro Cleaning. To make the meeting more enjoyable, especially for a longer duration, consider arranging for some refreshments. Your attention to these details can ensure a welcoming space, thus positively impacting the quality of your meeting.

Make sure to set expectations

Some meetings last for no more than a couple of minutes while others can go on for hours. It all depends on the seriousness of the subject. Nonetheless, you have to realize that you’re in control of the length, and you have to let your employees know the approximate length of the meeting beforehand. If you go into a meeting without notifying them, the meeting will probably last much longer than it needs.

Listen carefully to your staff members

People have a pair of ears and only one mouth for a good reason. When your employees start looking bored or disconnected, you should ask them a few question concerning the subject of the meeting, ask for their input and make sure that you’re listening closely. This is particularly important if you’re dealing with a younger staff, because according to a Clutch survey, 72% of millennials want active feedback.

Make a clear, strong agenda

You cannot meet just to meet, you need to have a clear list of things that need to be discussed. If you go into a meeting without a strong agenda, you’re probably not going to know when you’re going off track, let alone when you’re finished with the meeting.

Prepare as much as possible beforehand

Lastly, you need to make sure that both you and your team members are fully prepared for the meeting. So send some figures and facts before the meeting, to make sure that every single person in the meeting is on the same page. And if you don’t even know how to do a good presentation, it would be a good idea to seek some personalized coaching to help you prepare for future meetings.

Final Thoughts: Why Are Business Meetings so Important?

With so many business meetings every day, one cannot help but as – why are these daily meetings so important? Simply put, face-to-face meetings build trust and understand among the staff members and add a sense of a shared mission. And this, my friend, makes all the difference in the world.

Even though technology has made us distanced and detached from the world, you have to remember that you’re dealing with real people and not entities. Face-to-face meetings are especially important for female staff members, because women are simply better at picking up body language than men.

But meetings are important to everyone in your company – according to research from the University of California at Santa Cruz, staggering 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal gestures and ques. This is why talking face-to-face is so important to your employees.

You definitely know how easy it is to misinterpret an email, so providing body language and voice tone for context makes a huge difference. So if you want to stop wasting money and increase the productivity of your staff, you need to start making changes that will make your business meetings effective ASAP.