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3 Ways to Make Workplace Meetings More Effective

October 29, 2014 | Staffing Blog

Productive Workplace Meetings

It seems “meet” has become the office four-letter word. Lengthy, unfocused workplace meetings strike dread in the hearts of employees everywhere. And with good reason. Software company Atlassian compiled stats on the impact of meeting overload: 31 hours a month spent in unproductive meetings. The salary cost of unnecessary meetings for U.S. businesses: a whopping $37 billion.

Who hasn’t sat in a meeting thinking of the work that was piling up while co-workers (or the boss) droned on about nothing? That’s what happens when workplace meetings are just “meetings” without any forethought or planning to make the best use of the meeting time.

Meetings can be useful for brainstorming, event planning or gathering to set a strategic agenda for the next six months. If they are focused, have a time limit and stick to a well-planned agenda, meetings can leave attendees feeling accomplished rather than frustrated.

So, how do you turn meetings into useful workplace tools?

First, take a look at the overall meeting schedule. How many weekly meetings do you have? Are the participants meeting simply because it’s on the calendar? Is real work being accomplished at these meetings or are they more for ceremony?

Try meeting every other week and see what happens. You may find fewer workplace meetings make people more focused and prepared.

Second, create a focused and tight meeting agenda that fits within the time limit. Send the agenda in advance so participants are prepared for the discussion and aware of any decisions that need to be made. If the meeting begins to veer from the agenda, reel it back in. If an important side discussion has popped up, make a note of the topic and table it for the next meeting.

Third, infuse meetings with fun and creativity. Try meeting somewhere other than the conference room. If the group is smaller, gather at a local coffee shop. Is your office close to a park? Take your meeting outside. Show a funny YouTube video or tell a couple jokes to start off the meeting (but keep it short!). You might be surprised at how a little change in place or attitude will get the creative juices flowing.

Check out this article from with additional ideas for making meetings more efficient and shorter. What are your secrets for beating the dreaded workplace meeting?