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The Secret To The 15-Minute Meeting

The Secret To The 15-Minute Meeting

The Betts Team
November 4, 2015

The average employee attends over 62 meetings a month, and believes over half of the time they spend in meetings is wasted.

Considering that the average business meeting lasts for at least 30 minutes, we’re wasting a lot of valuable time.

Now, before you say I’m being “anti-meeting,” let me be clear – meetings are a critical exercise in conducting business. It’s just the way we approach meetings that needs an overhaul.

We’ve all had to sit through endless corporate meetings where nothing gets done, or (an epic waste of time) the meeting to discuss why we keep having useless meetings.

With a little planning from the meeting organizer, you can get more out of each meeting and cut the time of each meeting in half. In addition, you can make sure the right people are in the room, as well as which meetings can be completely replaced with one-on-one conversations.

Don’t worry… We’ll break down each piece of this, and you’ll have coworkers asking you to plan their meetings before you know it.

In an effort to fix this considerable waste of time and money we’ve put together a list of 6 things that every meeting needs to have to stay under 15 minutes.

Six Things Every Meeting Needs to Have to Stay Under 15 Minutes

  1. A Clear Title

Having a clear and exciting title for a meeting might not sound like a big deal, but it’s the first touch with the attendee, and will set the tone for the meeting. When I’m writing a meeting title I usually like to set the stage, is the meeting for quick updates, or brainstorming a solution?

Let’s try two examples:

Example of a bad meeting title: “Team Update”

Example of a good meeting title: “Sales Team Weekly Progress Report”

  1. Context in The Invite

What are we going to be talking about, and why are we having this meeting? Most meeting invite software allows you to include some sort of description. Use it.

When I call for a meeting (unless I’m unveiling a secret project) I want people to have ideas, or be prepared to speak in the meeting. Give people the opportunity to think of great ideas and add value.

Clear context and descriptions for meetings can also help people decide whether or not they need to attend.

  1. Clear Objectives

This is how you know when the meeting is over!

Walk into the room with a problem or questions, and out of the room with answers or a solution. Having clear objectives for your meetings and making them known to the group before the meeting, can dramatically reduce the time you spend explaining why we’re all here and what we want to achieve.

In addition to knowing when the meeting can end, you can also use objectives to keep the conversation on track. If people start running off the rails and talking about things that are “off topic,” don’t be afraid to ask them to “continue this conversation off line” (outside of this meeting).

  1. Logistics (When and Where)

This is the easy part, but often over looked. When I call for a meeting, I don’t want people wandering around the building looking for the right room. Remember to reserve the room or area, and make sure all of the materials and equipment are fired up and ready to go by game time.

  1. Who should be there (who doesn’t have to be)

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting that you shouldn’t be in. Don’t waste people’s time! Decide who the key decision makers are and make sure they’re in the room. Furthermore, keep the topics of discussion relevant to as many people in the room as possible. If it can wait until a one on one, don’t bring it up during group time.

  1. What’s the Agenda?

If you have more than one topic to discuss in the meeting, make an agenda. Your agenda should include items to be discussed, person responsible, process (brainstorm, or report on status), and time (how much time will they have to go over this item).

By following these six tips you’ll be able to increase your team’s productivity by wasting less time in meetings and spending more time getting work done.

How do you keep your meetings on track? Let us know in the comments!

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