Everyone wants to attend (and, ok, sometimes gchat their way through) meetings that are more efficient. There are a number of factors that can make meetings really suck, but new research shows that 91% of workers spend more time in meetings than ever before, so take some time to consider how to improve your next meeting. join.me offers efficient, accessible technology that doesn't require downloads, accounts, and precious minutes spent staring at the television screen praying to the IT gods to get it to work. Combine streamlined meeting tech with the below tips and you'll soon find yourself with shorter, better, less boring meetings.
Schedule Less Time, Do More
Like giving a mouse a cookie, if you get people together in a room for an hour, they'll find a way to fill it up. Instead of over-scheduling, give yourself thirty minutes every time. While you may not be able to accomplish everything, you'll get more completed than you think. Plus, you'll be giving yourself the gift of time, so you can accomplish even more by yourself.
It's easy to invite entire teams of people rather than combing through your contacts for the essentials. But invest time in crafting the perfect invite list and it'll pay off. Instead of spinning your wheels in meetings and talking about non essential points, you'll get straight to what's relevant to you. You can easily do this by pinpointing your coworker's skills and their specific benefit to you, and by letting managers do the work for you by filtering the information down to their employees as needed.
Create an Agenda, But Don't Stick to it
For efficiency's sake, it's important to create an agenda. it's the only way you'll come into the meeting with set goals to accomplish. But again, remember that less is more: you don't have to complete everything on your to-do list. Instead, Tracey Foulkes suggests crossing off the right things at the right time. Write your meeting goals on a piece of paper then complete the items that accomplish the most. The smaller, easier tasks can be left for later.
Go Big But Think Small
Make sure to divide your agenda up into manageable pieces. While you should seek to accomplish bigger goals, break each one down into smaller elements and set early deadlines. No one works well under pressure, so if you're trying to accomplish a huge goal in just fifteen minutes, you'll half-ass your way through the important parts, which will result in a mediocre product.
For Serious Conversations, Level and Edit
When it comes time for the meeting, think hard about what to say. Not all meetings are about TPS reports and the next company happy hour. If you have to sit down and have a serious conversation with a coworker, treat it the same way as you would a serious conversation with your friend or partner. Utilize techniques proposed by psychologist John Gottman: leveling and editing . Leveling requires you to share your point of view to arrive at common ground without pointing fingers. At the same time, make sure you edit. Don't share everything you're thinking so you don't offend and can keep the meeting short and sweet. That goes for more lighthearted meetings, too. Cut down your presentation to only the essentials.
And of course, use join.me for less-sucky meetings and more productive work days.
Nandita Raghuram is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn.