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6 Simple Steps to Make Small Meetings More Productive

Meeting planners spend a lot of time in meetings with staff, volunteers, vendors, and meeting sponsors. All too often, these meetings aren’t as productive as they should be.

Here are six easy ways to make your small meetings more productive and efficient.

1. Shake up your surroundings. The conference room can be an uninspiring place, particularly if the subject matter isn’t exactly groundbreaking. To keep participants switched on and interested, consider taking the meeting outside or holding it standing up, rather than seated. When you take people out of their comfort zones, it helps get their creative juices flowing.

2. Leave tech at the door. Smartphones, laptops, tablets—they’re all fantastic business tools, but the super-powered computers we carry around can be amazingly distracting. Increase interaction by employing a strict no-tech policy and encouraging people to participate in a distraction-free meeting. The results will speak for themselves.

3. Ditch the PowerPoints. PowerPoint presentations can be effective when used correctly, but all too often they’re not, especially when someone stands in front of the room reading off the screen. Instead, encourage people to talk about the topic at hand, challenge them to come up with their own solutions, brainstorm how to improve things, and generally make the time spent more interactive.

4. Keep it quick. Meetings often run over their allotted time, largely because of poor planning. Meandering meetings can lead to wandering minds as people lose their focus. When preparing for your meeting, keep your notes as concise as possible so that can deliver your points in the most efficient way. Experiment with setting alarms to keep you on track. You might find this distracting at first, but it’s a sure-fire way to keep your participants focused, and you’ll soon become accustomed to keeping to a tight schedule.

5. Bring in an outsider. Having the same person speak about the same topics can get tedious. Bringing in an outside perspective can help to spark interesting conversations and inspire ideas that otherwise might not come up. Look for local experts in your field or motivational speakers who can provide a fresh perspective for your team. Alternatively, inviting your staff members to speak on their specialist topics is a great way to share team knowledge and develop presentation skills throughout the business.

6. Know your goals. Going into a meeting not knowing what you’re trying to achieve is akin to trying to run before you can walk. Set goals, lay out how you want to achieve them, and establish a time frame in which you want to do it. By the end of the meeting, you should feel as though you’ve covered the topics you set out to discuss.

Tom Brialey is the managing director of Action Storage, which specializes in the manufacture, supply, and installation of a wide range of shelving, lockers, and racking.

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