Most workplace meetings are pretty tedious. They’re either too long, irrelevant, or one person takes over and won’t give anyone else the chance to speak.
And that’s not even mentioning the guest list.
Deciding who to invite to a meeting can be tough. Many managers default to including everyone in the hope that no one will feel left out but a new study has found that this could be a huge mistake.
According to the Harvard Business Review, meetings are more productive when fewer people are involved.
Robert Sutton, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University found that the ideal number of attendees is between five and eight.
That’s because when there are more than eight people at a meeting, the conversation and productivity level begins to decline in a number of ways.
Because of the large group size, not everyone is able to participate in the conversation. As a result, the meeting may lack substantial back-and-forth debate.
This can also lead to unproductive conversations like catch-ups and personal sharing which can ultimately distract from the tasks at hand.
The research found that people were shyer and less likely to speak their minds when with a large group.
In comparison, smaller meetings are intimate, more productive and usually much less painful experiences.
1. Thou shall not call unnecessary meetings
Before you decide to hold a meeting always ask yourself if the issue could be solved over email or an informal coffee. Only call meetings for important matters.
2. Thou shall only invite the people that need to be there
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in a meeting that has absolutely nothing to do with your role. Respect people’s time and they are much more likely to help you out when you really need them.
3. Remember to prep everyone in advance
If you have an important document that you would like everyone to read before the meeting then you need to send it to them well in advance. Ideally, you should send it the day before or at least a few hours before you’re due to meet. There is no point sending it 20 minutes before the meeting begins.
4. Thou shall follow the five-minute rule
The five-minute rule is simple. If you are running more than five minutes late for a meeting then you should simply give it a miss and ask one of your colleagues to fill you in on the important notes later.
5. Honour the meeting schedule
If you’ve told your colleagues that a meeting will take one hour then do not let it run over. Be realistic with your agenda and keep an eye on the time. Likewise, if a meeting happens to naturally finish before the allotted time then simply end it. If your objectives have been met there is no need to continue on.
6. Thou shall not text in a meeting
I hate to break it to you but we can all see you texting, even if you try to hide your phone under the desk. If you’re staring at your phone screen then you are not making eye contact and you are definitely not paying attention. Have a little respect and put the phone away.
7. Remember to stay present
It’s very easy to start thinking about other things during a meeting, whether that’s the looming email that you need to respond to or just what you’re going to have for lunch. Try to stay focused on the task at hand.
8. Thou shall let everyone participate
Remember that everyone should have their say. After all, you’ve invited them for a reason. Be patient while others are speaking and do not interrupt them. Everyone’s contribution is valid.
9. Keep the conversation on topic
Do not get distracted by other problems that might come up in conversation. Keep the conversation on track by simply stating, ”That’s an interesting point, maybe we should arrange a time to talk about that later as we only have 15 minutes left.”
10. Thou shall always wrap up meetings with a clear outline of what needs to be done
At the end of each meeting always take five minutes to round up the information that has been discussed and the tasks each person needs to complete. It is important that you also give each person a time frame that they need to finish their tasks in. This will make sure everyone is on the same page and give everyone a better idea of what is expected from them.