Don’t you love meetings? Being pulled away from your work the moment you’ve hit your stride, feigning patience while your coworkers go off on irrelevant tangents and helplessly watching as the minutes tick by, knowing this meeting is the sole reason half your daily to-do list will remain untouched. It’s a blast.
Ready for some good news? Meetings don’t have to be awful.
1. Implement a Room Reservation Process
There are few frustrations greater than arriving at a conference room before a meeting you’ve scheduled to discover someone else has already set up shop. Suddenly you go from the punctual, well-prepared presenter to a frazzled mess. You’re left with two options: hunt for a space to host your attendees and hope everyone gets the memo, or re-schedule—and both are a productivity killer.
Instead, devise a room reservation process. Or, better yet, invest in room reservation software that will handle everything for you. Simply choose a space and schedule your event, and others will know that room is off-limits.
2. Create a Living Agenda
A meeting without an agenda is a disaster. But even a meeting with an agenda can turn into a mess. Attendees may have other items they wish to discuss, take the floor and, suddenly, everything is out of control. Even if you’re able to recover, you’ll quickly lose precious time.
Instead, set up an agenda as a living document using Google Docs or another live collaboration software, and share with other attendees. Allow everyone to contribute to ensure your agenda is well planned, and set time limits for each item.
3. Use Wayfinding
One of the biggest culprits to meeting inefficiency is waiting for everyone to show up. Another is being interrupted when a late attendee finally enters the room. Sometimes this issue is caused by pure tardiness, but often it’s also due to a new employee or client not knowing how to get to the meeting place.
Wayfinding software works much like a GPS, and shows a live map to help guide each attendee to the right space. This way they’re less likely to get lost. Or, at least, they won’t be able to use that as their excuse.
4. Record Meetings and Transcribe Audio
Laptops, tablets and Smartphones can be distracting during a meeting. Instead of listening to the topic at hand, employees are checking email, chatting with a team member or planning their weekend. But, more often than not, they also need this technology to take notes.
By recording each meeting and having the audio transcribed online, you can provide notes to each attendee within hours. Plus, you can share the meeting with people who were not able to attend. Create a paper-and-pen only rule for your meetings and you’ll be amazed at how everyone is suddenly able to take part in the conversation.
If you despise meetings, you’re not alone. But they’re essential to your business and, if done well, meetings help keep employees in sync and boost productivity. By adopting the above technology solutions, you can help keep meetings highly efficient and on-track.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.