Everyone is guilty of attending, running or organising a poor meeting - it happens (unfortunately). But what exactly are the biggest productivity sins in a meeting room?
No matter what type of meeting it is, whether you're discussing strategy with a team of C-suite executives or brainstorming ideas with creatives, there's a good chance you committing at least one of the sins of meeting room productivity.
1. Don't treat the meeting room like your desk.
Assuming you've had your desk for a while, it's probably a little bit personalised, it's yours - your place of work. If you came in and found somebody sitting at your desk or that somebody had rearranged your desk, you might be suitably annoyed by this... a meeting room is not a place for this kind of precious attitude.
A meeting room is a dynamic multi-purpose space and sometimes you arrive to find it's not exactly looking its best. Our tips: schedule time in advance of a meeting to get the meeting room set up and ready, this can be a as little as 5 minutes for one person depending on your meeting type. Or put procedures in place that ask users to leave the room back in its original state.
You know, most employees in the US will attend over 60 meetings each month – if each meeting has 6 attendees and 5 minutes are wasted getting set up & ready… cumulatively, that’s 30 hours wasted per monthjust for those 6 attendees – multiply that across how many people attend meetings in your organization!
2. Don't get TOO comfortable.
You want people to be at their most efficient and productive in the meeting room right? So it's important that that space doesn't become (often subconciously) a place to sit back and relax.
Stand up meetings are great – they increase brevity and in general are incredibly efficient especially for those start of day 10-minute regroups
If you’re going to use a meeting room for any prolonged period of time, you need people to know that this is a place for maximum productivity not for stepping off the gas . When deciding between a stand up meeting and using a meeting room, be aware of time. If you’re scheduling a 2-hour meeting – standing up might not be ideal.
In the meeting room itself, the chairs should perhaps not be quite as nice as the chairs at people's desks. The table shouldn't get cluttered with a load of personal materials, bring your device(s), bring your reference materials... don't bring your lunch (unless instructed).
3. Wasting People's Time - Don't do it!
So during a meeting, there's something you want to talk to one of your colleagues about. Why don't you disrupt the flow of the meeting and have a one-on-one in front of everyone about some tangent to the meeting that affects both of you but nobody else whatsoever.
Bad idea. If you want to talk about something with 1 team-mate, agree to speak to them at a time that suits you both - ie not when the rest of your team are sitting around wasting their time following your conversation.
4. Don't neglect the equipment
This is an important one, one the deadliest of meeting room sins in fact. This has some serious productivity ramifications, for the people in the meeting room right now and for every meeting coming in the future until it's fixed.
It is everyone's responsibility to equip a meeting room to the best it can be. If someone who goes to the meeting room regularly knows that they have a problem connecting to any equipment in there, maybe they can't get internet access, there isn't enough power sockets for them or their device isn't compatible with the shared whiteboard, they need to speak up!
It's not just themselves that are inconvenienced, perhaps others are in the same situation - furthermore, it's the company’s time and productivity that is damaged - maybe your company's facilities manager doesn't realise that the Wireless Presentation System in meeting room D doesn't permit you to connect your iOS device or that there aren't enough VGA cables to go around, or worse still, your meeting room is still set up with VGA when all laptops these days are HDMI!
5. Don't Come Unprepared
It's something most people have done at one point or another, and we've all regretted it. You forget to save a file or share it with everyone beforehand; there's a project report that will be discussed at the meeting but 2 minutes before the scheduled starting time of the meeting, you realise you still don't have it; you've forgotten to print out enough copies of the support materials for everyone to share, so it's one between 4.
6. Don't forget the Notes
Not just the pre-meeting notes, priming everyone for the topics to be discussed - notes during the meeting are crucial! Have somebody share the minutes/notes of the meeting throughout to the main meeting display using
Montage, this means everyone is able to see it when they need to and if there's an error or something is missed out, there's a better chance of somebody catching it.
7. Don't neglect the follow-up
If you've been working on a project together in a meeting (as opposed to catching up on various things), then there should be some form of content that has changed through the course of a meeting - this needs shared.
Equally, those notes that were being kept - these need shared. If any actions were assigned during the meeting for particular attendees or teams to take control of - guess what - yep - these need shared.
Best advice is to share them then and there! Don't forget about it for days (if we’re honest, it happens – we’re busy people and sometimes things just slip), do it as soon as you can! As the meeting is wrapping up, share the notes, share the content you’ve been collaborating on, any annotations and grabs - send it out, it's done - now THAT'S meeting room productivity.
Looking for ways of making your meetings more productive and effective?
You may also be interested in our blog post 114 Powerful Productivity Blogs that will Immediately Help you Out.