How Much Time Do You Waste In Meetings?

05/30/2017 10:05 am ET Updated May 30, 2017

Meetings can be effective tools for entrepreneurs, but only if you use them effectively.

Meetings are designed to gather employees, partners, and leaders for mutual communication and collaborative work, but too many meetings end up wasting time. Instead of spending an hour trying to resolve an issue, you end up spending 20 minutes making small talk, 10 minutes gathering materials, 10 minutes talking about the problem, and 20 minutes talking about something off-subject.

Overall, meetings waste countless hours of your time, but aren’t they a necessary evil?

It’s hard to run a business without at least some meetings, but you can make your meetings more productive by doing the following:

1. Choose the right people. Don’t invite everybody on the team. Only invite the people who are truly significant to the problem at hand. Anyone outside those parameters won’t be able to contribute much.

2. Have a point. Why are you holding this meeting? What goal are you trying to accomplish? Make sure your attendees realize this.

3. Set an agenda. Your employees should know exactly why you’re having this meeting, and what you hope to accomplish in it. Make sure everyone has a copy of the agenda ahead of time.

4. Set a strict time limit. It seems like an hour would be better than 15 minutes, but odds are, you’ll get more done in 15 minutes, since you’ll have the pressure of the time limit to keep you on task.

5. Elect a meeting leader. Someone should be in charge of keeping the meeting on task. It could be you or another employee.

With these practices in place, you’ll waste far less time in meetings―and you’ll get more done while you’re in them.

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