How to have the best meeting of your life. In 30 minutes.

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The best meeting you’ve ever had in 30 minutes

Meetings are crucial in keeping the gears moving but they are an aspect of business that so many fail at. Miserably.

Are your meetings useful? Or do they drag on forever? Do they happen too frequently?

Bosses won’t allow you to spend £150 on a product or service that will make your life easier without going through countless layers of paperwork – however they wouldn’t think twice about calling a meeting for 10 people for a whole hour. Why is this way of thinking always overlooked?

You can nail a productive meeting in 30 minutes and it’s easy to do.

Group of Multiethnic Designers Brainstorming

Here’s how:

Before – Goals and intentions

Before going into any meeting you need to have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it.

Is there a benefit of this meeting or is an email sufficient? Don’t have a meeting for the sake of a meeting. It benefits no one.

Unnecessary meetings turn staff off. Then you have a real problem.

Set the meeting time at 30 minutes as a standard. Not 1 hour. 30 minutes can be all killer, no filler! 1 hour will almost guarantee some wasted time for everyone. Trust us!

Go round the members of staff in the meeting and ask them what they want to achieve from this meeting. This prioritises issues, makes them easier to understand and to solve. It also ensures that everyone knows why he or she is there, and they will understand quickly how much they can contribute to the meeting.

During – Aspire to solve 

Meetings are usually put in place to solve issues. To solve issues you often need to think out of the box and become creative with the solutions.

Former chief evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki came up with a genius method to identify problems – pretend you’ve already failed, then ask why.

What are the possible reasons to why a particular product or approach failed, for example? Now you can analyse and fix those problems.

Everyone has a voice

Nothing puts you off your flow than being interrupted, but nothing gets solved by just one voice.

A productive 30-minute meeting needs a good leader, or chair, to ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak.

Great companies are made up of lots of different personality types. Make sure the introverts get their airtime, as well as the extroverts.

At the end of the meeting, ask everyone individually if they would like to add anything. Not as an open forum – this allows everyone their individual opportunity to speak up, or openly declare that they are happy with the result.

Next steps are vital!

Never ever wrap up a meeting without everyone being clear on what the next steps are. Write them down. Email them. Cover your desk in PostIt notes if you want.

Point is, make sure everyone knows what the next steps are! If they don’t, you’ve just wasted half an hour of everyone’s time, including your own.

Location can mean inspiration

Research has shown that different settings stimulate different parts of the mind so why not use this tool in a meeting?

Holding a meeting in the same dull office space will not help your team, it will hinder their thoughts.

Not being able to escape and indulge in natural stimulus will slow down the mind’s creative spark.

To open up the mind in a limited amount of time, getting out of the office may be the solution. A 30-minute team meeting in your city’s green space might just be the spark that ignites a creative fire! Even try random creative spaces like the car park, or the communal break out area – or the hallway!

Stop wasting your time. Meet better.

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