How to trim the fat and save time at your next business meeting

Group of happy entrepreneurs having drink and discussing ideas in a start-up meeting outdoors

Business meetings can consume hours if you let them. Internal meetings are often a string of clichés and hardly a motivating way to start the day. The phrase, “We need to give 110%” is just getting old. Stop it, please!

Before every business meeting, you should ask yourself, “Why do I need to be part of this meeting at all?” Or you can ask the person who has arranged your meeting, “Why did you call this meeting?”

If your meeting organiser comes back with the words “Catch up”… “Make sure we’re all on the same page”… “We haven’t had one in a while”… then you should run. Not literally and not right away (That would just look sus).

Seriously though, it should raise alarm bells if your meeting organiser cannot be clear about what the meeting is for. If you are the meeting organiser, you should learn to be specific about the objectives for your meeting. Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your next meeting:

Before your business meeting

  1. Clarify why your meeting is necessary
  2. Specify who needs to attend and who does not
  3. Specify the main outcome you would like to achieve
  4. Set a brief agenda of the points you need to discuss
  5. Circulate the agenda, so attendees can start thinking about each point

During your meeting

  1. Determine which actions are required following your meeting
  2. Assign responsibility to specific attendees for follow up actions
  3. Ask if additional resources are required for any attendee to complete their assigned task
  4. Decide how and when to check progress or get feedback on actions
  5. Before you leave the room, schedule a time and date for a follow up meeting

Business meetings can suck if you let them. You should set a clear start and end time for your meetings. If another attendee wants to present during your meeting, you should ask how much time they require. If they need too much time, explain their topic might be a subject for another meeting. If you agree to let them present, hold them accountable to the time they asked for.

You need to remember your time is valuable but so is the time of your attendees. Everyone in your business meeting plays a role and you’re asking them to take time out to attend. Make sure you’re not wasting their most precious resource.