If you’ve spent any time working in a large organization, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the cancerous effect that meetings can have on productivity. Those days when you start work and discover that your entire day is an endless sequence of meetings with nary a break between them and no small amount of overlap. Stop the madness.Rampant meetings can be just as big a time-suck in a small or medium sized business as they are in a sprawling organization. And because you’re small, it’s even more important that you fiercely guard your productivity and that of everyone you work with.
Having meetings is important. The creativity and solidarity that stem from collaboration are vital to business success. So don’t stop having meetings, just make them count.
The guidelines for effective meetings would consume acres of shelf space in the business section of any book store. Yet they can all be summed up in one basic concept:
Have a purpose and stick to it.
One of the best ways to clarify your purpose is to put it in writing. Usually this is called the meeting agenda. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy (there are many templates available), but it should clearly state the purpose of the meeting and what you intend to achieve by the end of the meeting.
* Review distributor proposals and select finalists
* Create product development timeline
* Finalize marketing plan
Once you’ve got the agenda, distribute it before the meeting (or at least a summary of the agenda) so that participants know what to expect before they walk in the room or dial into the conference call.