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5 signs your meetings are not productive

Meetings are an essential part of any team’s functionality. Regularly syncing activities with your co-workers promotes good working relationships and helps to align goals within and across teams.

However, in this fast-paced world where people are getting busier and attention spans are getting shorter, time is of the essence. With everyone hustling to achieve their goals, it’s important to ask yourself before you send out calendar invite for yet another meeting this question: will this meeting be productive?

Here are some warning signs that your meetings are not efficient:

Not time-bound

Meetings that go on forever are not productive because attendees to lose interest after a point, the meeting eats in to everyone’s time and ultimately hampers productivity. One of the biggest signs of an unproductive meeting is on that is not time-bound. In order to promote urgency, every meeting should have a predetermined limit on the time allocated for it. This will signal to everyone that the meeting has a firm end time, which will help everyone focus on what’s essential and get the key points across in the allotted time without beating around the bush, ultimately enhancing productivity.

No clear agenda

Another warning sign of an unproductive meeting is the lack of a predetermined agenda. Having a clearly identified of topics to discuss that is circulated prior to the start of the meeting ensures that everyone stays focused on the objective. It helps to avoid unnecessary deviations, which is a common reason why some meetings aren’t conclusive. This is a simple step that goes a long way in setting a direction for the meeting and maximising efficiency.

All over the place

Planning is key! Aside from the meeting agenda, there are a number of small things that you need to prepare in order to have a smooth meeting – right from booking an appropriately sized room to ensuring that all technological devices work. While these may seem like trivial matters, a simple glitch could end up causing a waste of everyone’s precious time and clog the flow of work. Additionally, having colleagues who are multitasking during meetings also causes significant distraction to others. Set guidelines and ensure that they are enforced.

No decisions are made

Strong leadership is the backbone of any team initiative. When it comes to meetings, there needs to be a clear leader who steers the discussion. In the absence of such a figure, there might be a situation where either no one talks – or everyone talks. Either way, neither scenario will culminate in a productive direction. The very purpose of most meetings is to arrive at an outcome for a certain situation, so if this doesn’t happen, the meeting clearly wasn’t productive.

Should have been an e-mail instead

Sometimes, the aftermath of a meeting can leave you feeling that this was an unnecessary activity and a waste of everyone’s time. So, ask yourself this – could the outcome of the meeting have been achieved simply by sending an email instead? If your answer is yes, your team needs to evaluate how you’re working on this. After all, time is money.

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