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Stop Wasting Time: 6 Ways to be More Productive in Meetings


Meetings can feel like a waste of time—yours, mine, and everyone’s involved. That being said, meetings are inevitable, but they can be made more efficient. You can do your part to reduce the productivity drain that transforms a 15-minute meeting into a 90-minute massacre of your day. Here are six things that can help.

1. Schedule shorter meetings.

Where is it written that a meeting has to take an hour? Or two? One way to have shorter meetings is to change your settings for your calendar so that the default meeting time decreases from one hour to a half-hour. Shorter meetings are actually more productive—people don’t have time to let their attention wander.

2. Have a clear agenda and circulate it ahead of time.

Too often meetings lack agendas, or if they do, they’re useless and don’t help move the meeting along. A better agenda will have complete sentences that describe who will present and the precise topic he or she will present. “Milo will provide a status of the IT upgrade and will take suggestions from the group on further features the software should possess.” This also gives others time to prepare anything they’ll need to share or comment.

3. Start and finish on time.

Don’t punish the prompt—if someone is late for a meeting don’t wait for them to begin. A trick to getting people to be on time for meetings is to set the start time at an irregular time—instead of 1:00 schedule the meeting for 1:07. Most people instinctively show up at the same time they would for a 1:00 meeting and the habitually tardy arrive on time, leaving you ready to start at the scheduled start time.

4. Give pre-work.

If you truly expect productive discussion on a topic, or you want input, provide the material in advance so every attendee can prepare and participate. When people are caught off guard and unprepared, they often make extra effort to get ready before the next meeting.

5. Avoid the Parkinson’s Effect.

Parkinson’s Law says that the time it takes to complete a task will expand to fill the time allotted to it. In other words, if you only have 15 minutes worth of productive meeting material but you schedule an hour thinking that the meeting won’t take that long you are kidding yourself. It will take the entire hour (and maybe more!)

6. Stick to the agenda.

People love to hijack meetings and use the time allotted for their own use. Don’t let them! When someone brings up an issue that is not on the agenda, politely ask the person if he or she would like to defer the rest of your agenda to another day and replace it with this new topic or would it be okay to convene a new meeting on the new topic. This is a professional way of telling people that this is your meeting and you mean to accomplish the things for which you called the meeting.

Use these tips to run an efficient office of top agents. Join us at EXIT Realty Massachusetts as a franchise owner and grow your new career and life. Spend just 30 minutes to learn how to get started and we’ll equip you with all the tools needed to become a successful entrepreneur.



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EXIT Realty Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports the Fair Housing Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. Site is subject to change without notice. While the information on this site is deemed to be accurate, EXIT Realty Massachusetts does not guarantee its accuracy, and provides this information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. This site is not intended and shall not be deemed to constitute any offer to sell a franchise. Franchise offerings shall only be made by a Franchise Disclosure Document. Please disregard if you are currently under a contract with another brand.

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