Entrepreneurs should recognize that time is the most valuable commodity in life because it is the one thing you cannot buy more of.
When you think about your workweek it might be astonishing, frustrating and a tad depressing to calculate how much time you spend in bad meetings.
It is important for small business owners to pay attention to what makes great meetings great. It is a bit of an art, but it is something anyone can master. Here are some tips for entrepreneurs to ensure every meeting is productive.
1. Set and send an agenda in advance
Before you start, give people a heads up of what is going to be covered in the meeting. People benefit greatly by having a sense for where they are going. Specific questions for which to provide advance information include: What is the topic to be covered? What type of meeting do you want to have? Do you need people ready and willing to participate in a great discussion? What are the objectives of the meeting?
By sending the agenda 24 hours in advance you give people a chance to prepare and make most of the time.
Related reading: How to Write an Agenda for a Meeting.
2. Start your meetings on time
This is a huge pet peeve for many people. If you don’t start your meetings on time, chances are you won’t end on time. Then the next meeting starts late. Before you know it, the entire day is off schedule. If you can start on time with the first meeting of the day (and respect the end time) you set a culture where the importance of people’s time is highly valued.
3. Make sure the right people are in the right meetings
How many times have you sat in a meeting that was literally standing room only? Why are all these people in the room? It is important to have the right people in the right meetings for the right reasons. When you think about the value of time and the people in the room, meetings are a very expensive endeavor. Put some thought into the meeting roster and make sure everyone there has a clear role and purpose.
4. Meetings should be the right length
A great meeting should be as long or as short as it needs to be. If you are good about setting an agenda with clear outcomes you will know when a meeting needs to end. If you can get done in 28 minutes when you thought needed 60 minutes, fantastic.
5. Don’t end a meeting without clear agreement on the next steps
Before you end your meetings make sure you recap any immediate actions and assign them to the appropriate people. The worst thing that can happen is nobody follows up and then you have another meeting to talk about what you already discussed.
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