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6 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive

Peerless minute-taking skills can be yours – in just minutes
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Office Management

6 ways to make meetings more productive

Staff meetings can prove hit or miss.

If everyone contributes to a meaningful discussion of a relevant topic, then the gathering makes sense. But if the meeting leader rattles on for 30 minutes, the rest of the group can resent the time they're wasting and wish they could return to work.

When you're asked to take minutes, do you panic? Calm your fears with Taking Effective Meeting Minutes.

To make a meeting more productive:

1. Limit the topics. If you overload the agenda with too many items, participants can rush through each subject without sufficient focus. It's better to avoid nonessential topics so that the group can concentrate on the most critical matters.

Rule of thumb: Schedule two high-priority topics per hour. For a three-hour meeting, stick to just six major items.

2. Choose simple labels. Use the fewest words possible to label each agenda item. Examples: Discuss Progress, Decide Best Strategy, Give Input.

3. Avoid distractions. Stick to what matters most. If someone raises a minor problem, don't let the group get distracted by it.

With everything that's at stake in today's challenging times, it's no wonder that employers prize accurate minute-taking skills more than ever before. Master this important, sought-after skill ... and increase your value to your company.

4. Set ground rules. To prevent people from using their electronic devices during meetings, state up front, "You can leave to check your smartphones or handle other matters. Use your judgment. But please pay full attention when you're in here."

5. Track what counts. Monitor the way the group interacts in meetings. Collecting data will help you take corrective action as needed.

Examples: Track the number of interruptions, who interrupts whom, how much time an interruption diverts from agenda items and who refocuses the group on the agenda.

6. Confirm each commitment. End by clarifying who will do what by when. Make sure each individual accepts and understands the assignment.

— Adapted from Meetings Matter, Paul Axtell, Jackson Creek Press.

The editors of the Administrative Professional Today newsletter have produced a unique interactive event designed to help you master the minute-taking process.

Join us on December 2 for this valuable event. Taking Effective Meeting Minutes will help you:
  • Discover the appropriate way to take, write, draft and distribute meeting minutes
  • Establish guidelines and check-off lists to Patricia Robbensure quality
  • Feel comfortable with the role of meeting recorder
  • Review samples and illustrations of appropriate agendas and minutes
  • Determine what information should be captured
  • Know how to prepare your draft and final copy
  • Correct, file and index minutes
  • And much more!
From the 8 things you must do before a meeting starts to the proper format for submitting minutes after the meeting is over – and everything in between – Taking Effective Meeting Minutes will take you through the minute-taking process step-by-step. You'll emerge more competent … more confident … and more valuable than ever before.

Author and practicing admin Patricia Robb will take you from pre-meeting preparation to post-meeting follow-up – giving you a comprehensive overview of the minute-taking process, and providing the skills that you can put to work immediately. Don't wait another minute! Register for Taking Effective Meeting Minutes today!
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