25 Feb 2013
By Mark Evans
If you’re a business owner, chances are you get the most work done when email and the phone are shut off, and you can work alone and truly think.
The polar opposite?
Spending long hours in a meeting talking about things but actually not accomplishing them.
So the secret to being an efficient business owner and having an efficient staff lies — at least to some degree — in keeping meetings under control.
Here are some ideas for keeping meetings short and efficient
• Avoid meetings. If you don’t need to meet, don’t. If asking someone or even doing a conference call will suffice, cancel the meeting and do that.
• Invite carefully. If the project does not involve sales, don’t invite sales. But sure every single person a the table has a reason for being there. If someone only needs to know the outcome, don’t invite them. You can update them later on what happened.
• Have a goal. Each meeting needs a written-down goal, and the meeting should focus on that goal and not on secondary issues.
• Write up an agenda. And stick to it. It should be handed out in advanced and establish the start and end time of the meeting, the goals, who will attend, start and end times for each agenda item and what everyone at the meeting needs to do in advance to prepare.
• Avoid detail work. Meeting attendees should do their homework in advance or discuss minor issues later. No need for everyone in a larger meeting to be debating which time a courier should pick up a package or who’s carpooling with who for a company event.
For some more great ideas about short meeting, check out this poster for how to run a 22 minute meeting. Not every meeting can run that swiftly. But surely, most of them can be a whole lot shorter and more effective.