The meeting is dead. Long live the meeting.

In a recent survey investigating stress in the workplace, we found that one in five workers cite pointless meetings as a top stress factor. I’m sure many will identify with the weary feeling of sitting in a lengthy meeting, only a fraction of which is relevant to your role, while time could be better spent getting work done. So, should we kill the meeting?

In short, no. While it’s true there are probably a lot of meetings we can cut out of our schedules – and cut them we should – meetings are a valuable way to keep the team updated, gain inspiration and generate ideas. It’s more a matter of making meetings as productive as possible. Here are a few suggestions for doing just that:

  • Fit them around work: don’t have meetings for meetings’ sake. If your team’s busy doing an urgent piece of work for a client, reschedule. You’ll never get the best out of people whose minds are elsewhere.
  • What’s the point: before you send a calendar invite out, think about whether a meeting is really needed. If you are holding a meeting, state the purpose at the beginning so everyone knows what you’re there to accomplish.
  • Don’t overrun: there’s nothing worse than a meeting that drags on. Make sure you don’t become that person that everyone dreads holding a meeting with – stick to your start and finish time so people can plan their work accordingly.
  • Ban mobiles and laptops: or any device that might be distracting. Your meeting will be far more productive if everyone’s head is in the meeting and not focused on the email they’ve just received from another client.
  • Recap and review: at the end of the meeting, go round and get each person to recap his or her action points. This will ensure people stay engaged, as well as foster a sense of responsibility.
  • Mix things up a bit: sometimes it’s good to move away from the traditional meeting format. A change of scenery might inspire more discussion or a brain-teaser to begin with might help get people’s creativity flowing.

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