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Making meetings more productive in less time

Meetings can take up a lot of important business time which can result in reduced productivity and even lost revenue. In 2005, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that unnecessary meetings cost American businesses approximately $37 billion each year.

While it may seem like cutting meetings all together would be ideal, some discussions must take place for a business to run fluidly. The best way, perhaps, to stop wasting time in the conference room is to spend less time there. Entrepreneur Magazine gave a few tips for businesses to actually get more done in meetings in a less amount of time.

♦ Limit admission. How many people really need to be in every meeting? There are usually a few employees in attendance that would probably be better suited staying at their desk and working. They can simply be sent a memo or filled in on what they missed afterwards.

♦ Make a focused agenda. It's easy to ramble on and on about all of the company's problems in every meeting, but it's impossible to solve every single one of those issues in a single discussion. Try to talk about one topic per meeting.

♦ Start an online discussion. Business owners and managers can post a memo of the issues that need to be discussed online, and let workers respond at their leisure. After a set amount of time, there can be a physical meeting to discuss the ideas that were already brought up. This also allows employees to have more time to think about a particular issue.

♦ Take advantage of technology. Rather than gathering people in a meeting room, an online conferencing system can connect all important parties right from their desk or office. Meetings then become easier to organize, and leaves more scheduling flexibility.