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Meetings waste more than $37 billion a year. Many executive leaders consider 67% of meetings unproductive. One large reason for this is the lack of structure and planning. Meetings are scheduled too long and without clear expectations. Meetings are scheduled too long and without clear expectations. As the chairperson, you are the reason that the meeting will be successful or not.

Be Precise About The Meeting Topic

When you send invitations for the meeting, the subject line should detail the topic of discussion. If the meeting is going to address changes in the company, the subject should state that. Don’t merely title it “Updates,” give the reader more information to go off of. If you discuss process changes, include what that is in the subject line. When you do this, you tell your team what to expect, and allow them time to prepare for the topic at hand.

Ensure That You Invite Relevant Members

Avoid inviting members of the team that do not need to be there. If the meeting is being used to discuss an issue about the finances of the group, don’t request the marketing member to be available. If you require someone that doesn’t need to be there, you are wasting valuable time. Ensure that those who are there are relevant and can expertly converse the topic at hand.

Now if it is an informative session that everyone must attend, it is better to break the group up into small teams. That way the meeting space is not full and attendees won’t be afraid to ask questions.

Stick With The Agenda

As the chairperson, you need to ensure that the meeting goes as planned. Create an agenda that details everything that will be covered. Without a schedule, irrelevant topics can be brought up, or too much time can be spent on just one thing. You can send the agenda in the email invite, or post it on a screen in front of the team during the meeting. By doing this, you keep your group focused and on task. Without an agenda, valuable information can be excluded or too much time spent on irrelevant matters.

No Technology Or Mulitasking

During meetings, 69% of attendees admitted that they checked their email while 92% of others stated they tried to multitask. In a study conducted by Stanford University, multitaskers were less efficient and took longer to do work. If you’re leading a meeting, ensure that team members at the table aren’t focusing on two things at once. If you have to, prohibit the use of technology. The topic at hand should hold the entire team’s focus. Their knowledge and expertise are necessary to solve the problem.

Schedule It Compassionately

Scheduling is important. If you have people travelling to a meeting starting at 09:00AM may mean a pre-dawn start out and be challenging for those who have child-care responsibilities, similarly scheduling at the end of the day can be equally difficult. If it’s a longer meeting build in a rest break to allow people to check in on email and life outside. It’s also important to allow time for refreshment and toilet breaks. Breaking up a meeting with time out of the room gives people time to get some alternative headspace and for those that are reflective thinkers time to process the information.

Start On Time And End On Time

Time is too valuable a commodity to be wasted. Meetings should be started and finished when scheduled. If they last longer than planned, the attendee’s schedules will be impacted negatively. Ensure a successful meeting by following it up with a conclusion email. That way, attendees have access to key pieces of information when they need it.