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Workers in a group meeting

Breaking Boring: 7 Hacks for Producing Better Meetings

 The True Cost of Boring Meetings

There are three guarantees in the world of work: taxes, office politics, and boring meetings.

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Of those three options, meetings are the one thing workers will face on a regular basis. Because meetings happen so often, you would assume that businesses know how to conduct a meeting.

Let’s check the statistics:

and if you need one final statistic. Take this one from Fuze

So, all that “brainpower” you’re hoping to gain by corralling everyone into that cramped office? That’s costing you money and productivity. A better option would be to keep fewer than five people, email everyone else, and let everyone get back to work.

Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to do that.

That’s why people hate meetings so much. We know they are inefficient, but we don’t know of any other way to be efficient.

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What Makes Meetings So Bad?

Here are three of the top meeting gripes from a recent Twitter chat recently held on DIY Marketers:

1. Lack of Preparation

2. Confusing or complicated technology

3. Power Dynamics

How Do I Prevent Boring Meetings? Change Form, Not Purpose

You could get rid of meetings altogether. I’m betting that you don’t want to do that.

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I’m betting that you don’t want to do that.

Meetings, no matter how you feel about them, are important. They happen for a reason. The problem is how we conduct those meetings. MEETINGS CAN’T BE AVOIDED.

People meet to brainstorm, get updates, and make decisions.

Bringing in the Meeting Experts: John Quesada, WebEx & DIY Marketers

John Quesada (@jqsmooth), from WebEx, shared some of his top tips for an effective and productive meeting. As the Senior Social Media Manager for WebEx, a global video conferencing and web conferencing services company, he has been around a lot of meetings. He offered his insight on a recent Twitter chat with DIY Marketers. (For the entire replay of the Twitter chat with John Quesada, click here.)

This article captures 7 “wisdom gems” from that Twitter chat. Feel free to use them to help you improve your meeting performance.

Jason Quesad-bizapalooza chat

  1. Answer the four basic questions. Why are we having the meeting?, Who needs to be there? What needs to get accomplished? How long will it take?
  2. Know your meeting “demons”. Meetings aren’t derailed by the same issues. For some meetings, it might be a person who dominates a conversation. For another meeting, it could be technology meltdown. Observe your own meetings to identify how your meeting process can be improved. (You might even record them.
  3. Check your tech before. Do a test-drive and systems check before you launch.
  4. Keep it to the essentials. Keep the meeting focused on the topics at hand. Note other topics and ideas that pop up for future meetings. Keep the meeting limited to people who actually need to be there.
  5. Choose the best format. Not every meeting needs to be an hour. Not every meeting needs to be in person. Figure out the meeting format that fits your objective.
  6. Keep people engaged. Another rule destroying meetings is the idea that all your meeting participants have to be sitting down in a closed room. As psychology has shown, engagement is not a fixed thing. It rises and falls throughout a meeting, especially long ones. Having a hour-long (or longer) meeting can deplete a person’s energy, especially if they are sitting. Try incorporating movement, breaks, or a switch in presentation style to keep participants engaged.
  7. Get serious about follow-up. Meetings are notorious for lots of conversation and little action. Don’t continue this trend! Create follow-up items that tie into your overall business objective. Hold people to those follow-up items so meetings can become an important tool for your business, not a crutch.
To have good meetings, you need to prepare for a good meeting . Otherwise, you’ll end up with the status quo, a boring meeting with a large dose of distraction and lowered productivity.

The goal of preparing for a meeting is to create a new standard in meetings. Instead of dragging workers to meetings, you want to hold meetings that leave people inspired, ready to contribute, and dedicated to following through with the meeting’s decisions. If you can improve the standards of meetings, you will have a work culture where meeting participants respond like this:

Now, isn’t that a great feeling to see in your employees?

Want To Connect With Jason Quesada or His Company?

Twiter: @jqsmooth

LinkedIn: Jason Quesada’s profile

Company Website: WebEx

Company Blog: WebEx blog 

Online Tools You Might Want to Play With

  1. Cost Calculator; Find out how much your business is losing in unproductive meetings with this calculator from Meeting King. Another alternative is Meeting Calc, an app that will inform all meeting participants of the cost of their current or potential meeting. Price: Free
  2. Skype for Meetings: Share face time, screen time, and other content in the communications platform that everyone is familiar with, Skype Price: Currently free
  3. Minutes Creator: Created, edit, and customize minutes with Minutes.io. Price: Varies from $9/month to $65/year (has a free option)
  4. Virtual Meeting Briefcase: Get your calendar, meeting materials, and automate reminders and action items with Meetin.gs. Price: $12/month or $129/year for unlimited usage.
  5. Post-Meeting Report: Perform an after-the-meeting report with After The Meeting. Price: Free or $12 per month/per user.

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About the Author Charles Franklin

Almost-graduated turned freelance marketing/tech writer, future web developer, social justice advocate, and Millennial on a mission but still confused about the path

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