Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. Meetings.

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Meetings, meetings, meetings. Meetings account for a substantial amount of the work day, and yet many people view them as a waste of time. Time, however, does not waste itself. It is your responsibility, whether you are leading the meeting or contributing to it, to use your time efficiently and effectively. Here are my top 5 tips on running meetings as efficiently as possible:

1. Ban technology

The reality is that if people are allowed to bring laptops or iPhones, they won’t be focusing on the meeting. A “no-technology” policy may be seemingly cruel, but make it clear that the meeting will be both faster and more focused.

2. Let everyone have a say

While it’s fantastic that one member in the meeting may want to contribute more than others, it is important that everyone’s voice is heard. Diverse contributions will make the quality of your meeting a lot higher, and, ultimately, more efficient.

3. Have an agenda

A meeting must have a specific and defined purpose, and, most importantly, a goal. Meetings with a vague goal are rarely a good use of time.

4. End on time

If you have a reputation for ending meetings on time, you will be amazed how many of your colleagues (and clients) will make every effort to contribute to your meetings.

5. Follow up

People can walk away from a meeting with many different interpretations. Reduce this risk by sending an email highlighting what was accomplished. Document what decisions were reached, any responsibilities given, and any assigned deadlines.

Effective meetings can leave you energised, focused and feeling that you’ve really accomplished something. It’s your job to take the steps to ensure that this happens.