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A good meeting can help clarify goals and reduce confusion but a bad meeting can be a waste of time.

The problem with this is that many meetings are poorly arranged, and this can waste time and cause frustration for both the employees and the manager arranging the meeting.

Assess who needs to attend the meeting

The more people in the meeting, the more likely you are to encounter distractions, so you should try to limit the number of people there. Remember that the purpose of the meeting is to get work done, not to share information, as this can easily be done via email.

Create an agenda

If you don’t want to waste time during meetings you should know exactly what you want to discuss beforehand. Vague ideas will confuse people and slow down productivity, so make sure that you have a written agenda that states the issues you want to solve.

Let others know about the agenda

Forwarding a copy to your co-workers gives them a chance to prepare questions of their own.

Make sure to watch the clock

Sometimes it is frowned upon to watch the clock, as doing so can make it seem like you are not fully focused, but clock watching is actually an essential part of an effective meeting.

This is because many meetings can last longer than planned, and this is rarely because of creative idea sharing – in fact, it is normally because people are distracted and disorganised. For this reason, you should always designate someone to keep an eye on the time, so they can let everyone know when the meeting is officially over.

Take notes

It is difficult to remember every single thing that is discussed during a work meeting, especially if the meeting is over an hour long, so you should try to take notes as you go. This will be helpful as it will help the information to stay in your head, and it also means that you can refer back to the notes at a later point if you have forgotten anything.

Use the “parking lot” system

No, this doesn’t mean you have to hold the meeting in a car park – it is just a useful tool that keeps the meeting focused on the main agenda. Simply explain the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, and say to employees that you expect everyone to focus on this discussion. If another point is raised, you can say “that is a useful point, but it isn’t fully related to this discussion, so I will make a note of it now and we will discuss it via email later or in another meeting.”

Follow up afterwards

It is always useful to follow up with your co-workers after a meeting to clarify the discussion and conclusion. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page, helping to reduce confusion so that everyone can be more productive.

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