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Steve Isenberg

5 Tips to Tame the Meeting Merry-Go-Round

Posted on: August 20, 2015

By: Steve Isenberg

If you’re frustrated because your workweek has become such a series of back-to-back meetings and conference calls that you have limited time to do your actual job, you’re not alone.


According to a Clarizen and Harris Poll survey, the average American office worker spends more than nine hours of every week preparing for, or attending, status meetings – up nearly 14 percent from the 2011 results. Those stats only account for status meetings, defined as a time when team members give updates on completed and active work tasks. Factor in strategy, brainstorming, and planning meetings and the scope of our meeting-obsessed culture becomes clear.

The higher the rank, the more meetings, reports many executives, who admit they often their job tasks in the evening to get everything accomplished. When meeting attendees would rather do any unpleasant activity – including a visit to the DMV- than attend another meeting, it’s clear that work-related meetings have gotten out of control.

Common meeting complaints rightfully include:
*meetings occur too often
*last too long
*don’t accomplish much
*are a major distraction

So, what’s the solution? These five strategies will guide you toward fewer, shorter, more productive meetings.

1. Is this meeting necessary?
If the discussion, updates and planning can be conducted via email or another form of messaging, go that route. If a face-to-face in–person is necessary, then insist on an actual statement of purpose and put into words on paper. The narrower the focus, the better.

2.Shorten the time
Studies have shown that a meeting scheduled for two hours, will require two hours plus a little extra time. However, the same meeting can be conducted in one hour if that’s the time allotted. Time-controlled meetings eliminate the fluff and needless chatter, keeping people focused and engaged. A win-win scenario.

3.Create a targeted agenda
Going with the narrowed focus from step one, list the specific bulleted points that will keep the discussion on track. Be specific: we must decide this, this and this by the conclusion of this meeting. Detail who will be responsible for specific tasks before the next meeting convenes.

4.Share the big picture beforehand.
Share related documents between staff members before the meeting with instructions to come prepared to discuss, analyze, vote, etc. A bit of preparation beforehand can speed along the decision-making process and keep the meeting on track.

5.Conclude with an evaluation
A brief Q and A time – even five minutes – at the close of each meeting can address productivity issues and with time, improve the efficiency of future meetings. Even baby steps in the areas of focus and efficiency will pay off down the road.
What did we do well in this meeting?
Where could we improve?
What could the facilitator do to help make this happen?


Make fewer, shorter, more efficient meetings the goal. Strive to achieve a clear retur

n on the time invested in company meetings.

At ASJ Partners, we value your time. With minimal distractions to your workday, our comprehensive process will efficiently create a targeted marketing strategy for your company. Contact us today and discover the multiple ways our team can help yours.


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