7 Tips for Scheduling Meetings
Meetings: they’re a core element of business, but unfortunately they have the capacity to really chew into precious time that could be spent working on your next profit-savvy project. The saying ‘time is money’ is never more true than in a business setting; and as a multiple business owner, the way I spread myself out has a huge impact on how my companies track.
Over the years I’ve learnt certain methods for balancing meetings with work productivity. Here, I outline seven top tips to help you start really reaping the rewards from your meetings.
1. Host stand-up meetings. Just like the stand-up desk, I love stand-up meetings. When people sit down, they are already mentally preparing themselves to settle in for a longer period of time, while practically inviting lethargy to creep over. Standing up forces you to get to the point of your meeting much quicker – it encourages short, sharp and snappy sessions and bolsters this mentality that you should always be on the move.
2. Slot meetings into your typical work flow day. Unless you are superhuman (and let’s face it, few of us are), you probably experience an ebb-and-flow effect when it comes to your work productivity. There are certain parts of the day where you feel on top of your game and find yourself powering through that endless list of tasks, and then there are other parts of the day where you need a healthy hiatus from the screen in order to refocus. It is during these periods that you should try to fit your meetings in – rather than staring sluggishly at your monitor, you can use the time productively to engage with clients or colleagues over a much-needed caffeine hit.
3. Be firm when planning your meetings. It can be really easy to fall into the ‘nice-guy’ trap and always be the one to compromise, but when it comes to managing a business, you need to take charge. Don’t agree on meeting at a location that’s going to be hard for you to get to, and don’t settle on a time that’s going to clash with other commitments (both work-related and personal).
4. Use travel time effectively. We live in the digital age, and I intend on making the most of it. For me, the need to attend business meetings doesn’t just apply throughout Melbourne, but also interstate and internationally as well. Whether I’m catching an Uber across the city or a flight to Hong Kong, I always use the time spent in-transit tapping away at my laptop, tablet or phone.
5. That being said, technology means you can always meet remotely. Where appropriate, schedule a phone or video meeting over a face-to-face rendezvous. This can be ideal for first meetings as it allows you to get acquainted and effectively decide whether there is any point in continuing discussions. Furthermore, meetings held via teleconference naturally tend to run shorter as you are more likely to get straight to the point rather than spending time making small talk.
6. Schedule meetings consecutively. When running on a strict timeline, the best way to ensure meetings don’t run overtime is to schedule them one after the other. This not only gives you personal parameters to work with (after all, no successful businessperson wants to hinder his or her reputation by showing up late to a meeting), but also gives you a credible excuse for ending a meeting right on the allocated time.
7. Turn catch-up meetings into a social occasion. I like to consider this a bit of a multi-tasking tool that helps me strike that healthy balance between work and personal life. By escaping the corporate confines of the conference room and hosting your meeting in a social setting, you can build strong relationships with your clients or colleagues while still focusing on getting work done. Basically, you are utilising the opportunity to catch up on business matters while also tending to those basic personal needs that can often be forgotten about when you enter business.
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