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Effective meetings – quick guide that saves time for everyone.

We’ve all been in them. Long meetings that lead nowhere. Which you don’t even feel affects you and your areas of responsibility and which doesn’t lead to any constructive decisions. In our intense everyday life and work environment, where many often feel a step behind, this is a very big stress factor and time stealer. So how can we help each other free up time to do the right things?

Below you will find 10 effective tips on how to create an environment in the company with more effective meetings that create less stress. The key words to achieve this are structure, order, respect and variety.

  1. Is the meeting necessary? Don’t casually call meetings unless absolutely necessary. Ask yourself the question – can the matter be resolved by phone or email?
  2. What type of meeting is it? Decide whether the meeting should be creative, e.g. ideas meetings, information meetings or decision-making. Require proper documentation before decision-making issues and always make decisions on these issues.
  3. Structured agenda and call. Compile and send out a structured meeting agenda together with the invitation where you include the purpose and goals of the meeting. There, you who are convening the meeting are forced to think about which issues should be raised, what is realistic to get done and who are relevant to invite.
  4. Accurate schedule. Based on this, a timetable is set with allocated time per item so that during the meeting you have something to deal with in order to get everything done. Keep in mind that concentration and productivity drops drastically after 60 minutes. If the meeting must be longer than 60 minutes, it needs to be interrupted at regular intervals for leg stretches, toilet breaks and practice/play. Make sure to have fruit and water available and good air and light in the room. During the breaks, new energy is created and gives the participants a chance to chat about other things.
  5. Bring fewer than too many. Only invite those who really have to be there and cc instead the people who do not obviously have a part in or areas of responsibility on the agenda, so they can choose whether they want to participate or not. Inviting a number of colleagues “just in case” or because “it might be good if they join and listen” is disrespectful to them and their time. Instead, be careful to send out the meeting minutes to these people.
  6. Meeting policy – meeting times and mobile phones.Be sure to have a meeting policy in the company regarding respecting meeting start and end times and having cell phones and computers/emails turned off. If you do not have time to actively listen and participate in the meeting, you should decline the invitation and propose a new time if you are an important participant. For exceptions, you must ask permission in front of the other meeting participants, e.g. if you are expecting an unusually important call.
  7. Meeting secretary. Appoint a secretary at the meeting who notes what is said and what actions are decided and who is responsible for these and by when. This person is responsible for sending out clean written minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
  8. Meeting secretary. Appoint a secretary at the meeting who notes what is said and what actions are decided and who is responsible for these and by when. This person is responsible for sending out clean written minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
  9. Meeting chairman. Appoint a chairman for the meeting (preferably you who convenes) and ensure that the discussion sticks to the items on the agenda. This is to avoid long ramblings and side tracks that take their own shape. Make sure to have a “parking place” where questions that cannot or cannot be resolved during the meeting can be parked. This also applies if any item starts to deviate from the scheduled meeting time and becomes a mini-meeting in the meeting. The entire meeting should not stop and become ineffective because someone in the room has difficulty moving on.
  10. The next step. Always end the meeting with feedback from the secretary about what decisions have been made, who is responsible for what and when the next follow-up meeting should be and who needs to be there.
  11. Change shape. Feel free to vary the method, what time you have the meeting, the agenda or how you use the room. The more the participants are active and involved in discussions, brainstorming or the like during the meeting, the more commitment and dynamism is achieved. Be careful about letting a speaker stand and talk during a powerpoint presentation. Also feel free to choose to have standing or walking meetings, so it tends to be both shorter and more active.