How to Make the Most out of Meetings

Unlock the secrets to effective and efficient meetings. Discover how to set clear boundaries, establish defined purposes, and master the art of planning. Turn every meeting into an opportunity for growth with our comprehensive guide. Be the change-maker!

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We got the idea of working from home all wrong. Flexible hours, sometimes with a splash of makeup (if that’s your thing), other times just as we woke, we occasionally found ourselves replying to emails in our cosiest pyjamas.

Truth is, the reality is way different. On a good day, we’re submerged in a sea of faces, both on screens and in real life. Collaborations, brainstorming sessions, project launches – they’ve become our daily bread. And while these interactions are vital, they can be awfully time-consuming.

The number of annual meeting minutes on Zoom is now over 3.3 trillion. 

If you’ve found that a brisk half-hour Zoom call mysteriously stretches into a 90-minute discussion, you’re not alone. Such prolonged interactions can seriously disrupt the rhythm of our working day.

So, how can we make the most of meetings?

Pick your meeting days

We too juggle various tasks, but it’s essential to earmark specific days for ‘meetings’ and ‘content creation’. Imagine having 1-2 days of unadulterated creative nirvana. This concept is also known as time blocking.

Time blocking is a time management method that involves dividing a day into specific blocks of time, each dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks.

  • The trick is preparation. Before any meeting, do the legwork, gather your data, and map out your discussion points.
  • Use a calendar app to start clearing out days in your schedule, wherever possible.
  • Whether it’s a traditional face-to-face chat or a virtual Zoom call, be judicious with your time. Stick to the schedule, respect everyone’s time, and, importantly, ensure the aftermath of the meeting is just as productive.

Remember, the magic often lies in the follow-up. As we often say, “80% of the real impact comes post-meeting.” So, let’s maximise our meetings and make every moment count!

Set time limits at the outset

Have you ever felt trapped in a meeting that seemed to stretch endlessly?

We’ve been there, and those 90-minute marathon sessions taught us a thing or two. Here’s our top tip: Begin with the end in mind.

Rather than pencilling in a meeting for “2:30 pm”, mark it as “2:30-3:00 pm”. By setting this parameter, not only are you respecting your time, but you’re also setting a clear expectation for all participants. Whether it’s 30, 45, or 60 minutes, clarity is key.

Establish a defined purpose

Time is precious, and we must use it wisely. The golden rule for effective meetings? Have a clear WHY. Meetings for the mere sake of ‘catching up’ or exploring ‘potential opportunities’ often end up in the labyrinth of vague discussions.

Before carving out a slot in our diaries, we ensure both parties have a tangible understanding of collaboration areas – be it joint projects, mutual assistance, or potential ventures. It might sound stringent, but trust us, a clear roadmap often paves the way for concise, effective meetings.

The art of effective planning

Whether it’s navigating the bustling streets of London or seamlessly switching between virtual rooms, planning is the bedrock of efficient meetings. When we talk about planning, it’s not just about the meeting content but also the logistics:

  • Factor in Travel Time: If your meeting is in-person, always account for the commute. Unexpected traffic snarls or train delays? They’re not just urban legends, they’re very real!
  • Craft “Virtual Commutes” for Online Meetings: Just because it’s online doesn’t mean back-to-back meetings are sustainable. Insert short “virtual travel times” between meetings. Think of these as mental palate cleansers, giving you a few moments to recalibrate and refocus.

The key to impactful participation

To truly harness the potential of any meeting, you must walk in equipped:

  • Research is Your Compass: Dive deep into the material. Know the lay of the land, so you can steer the conversation effectively.
  • Be Goal-Oriented: Clarity about the meeting’s objectives ensures you’re not just a passive listener, but an active contributor. Remember, a meeting without a goal is like a ship without a compass.
  • Become an Inquisitive Participant: Come armed with questions. They not only show you’re engaged but can also spark enlightening discussions.

The more effort we put into cultivating a fruitful meeting environment, the brighter we shine in the eyes of our peers. And who knows? They might just see us as the beacon guiding the way.

In the end, our meetings should be more than just conversations. They should be catalysts for progress, change, and collaboration. Let’s lead by example, showing that with the right approach, every meeting can be an opportunity for growth. Ready to transform your meetings? We believe in you!

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