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2. Limit the number of participants. The most productive meetings have fewer than eight participants, Axtell
says. A larger group will leave some disengaged or resentful that their time is being wasted.
3. Send an agenda and background material in
advance. If you want a thoughtful discussion, give your
team members time to think about the problem or proposal that the meeting will focus on, he says.
4. Start and end on time. Don’t punish people for being
punctual by waiting on late stragglers to get started. At
the same time, it’s best not to jump right to the heart
of the discussion in the ;rst few minutes, Keith says.
Provide a soft transition that will help those coming from
other meetings to refocus.
5. Make sure all attendees can participate. One common complaint about meetings is that a few people tend
to dominate the conversation. Call on other individuals
to share what they think, Axtell says. Who is most likely
to hold a di;erent view? Who will be most a;ected by the
outcome? Who has institutional knowledge that might be
useful? Think about who to draw out on speci;c topics as
you prepare. You’ll collect more ideas and leave participants with a more positive experience.
To feel good about work, people need to feel included
and valued. “That means you have a voice and are allowed
to express your opinions,” Axtell says.
Because you’re a leader, your views already hold more
weight. If you share them too early, you may discourage
others from presenting alternate perspectives. Focus on
listening, and stay out of the discussion as long as you
can, he says. You might learn something.
Avoid PowerPoint slides or other technology if it’s not
required for an agenda item. They tend to shut down
dialogue, Axtell says.
A surefire way for leaders to alienate participants is
to use up most of the meeting time presenting a proposal and leave only a few minutes for questions and
comments, Keith says.
Source: Accountemps survey, July 2018.
25% The average amount of time that office workers say is wasted in meetings
The average amount of time that
office workers spend in meetings 21%