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From Time Sink to Time Saver: Planning Effective Meetings

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Meetings are an integral part of any business, but when they are not well-planned, they can end up being a significant time sink for employees. Studies show that the average worker spends six hours a week in meetings, leading to lost productivity. While some meetings can be substituted into an email or a chat, there are still necessary meetings. With a few simple strategies, businesses can streamline their meetings and reduce the amount of time spent on them.

1. Setting Clear Agendas
One of the biggest contributors to unproductive meetings is a lack of a clear agenda or goal. Before scheduling a meeting, ensure that all participants understand the purpose and have an idea of what will be discussed. Provide any necessary background materials, so participants come prepared. By setting clear goals and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, meetings will be more focused and productive.

2. Limit Attendees
Another significant contributor to unproductive meetings is having too many people in attendance. Often, it is only necessary to invite individuals whose input is required. The remaining participants can be updated afterwards. This practice will allow meetings to be more productive and efficient by eliminating extraneous discussion.

3. End Meetings with Actionable Items
A common complaint about meetings is that they result in no actionable outcomes. To address this issue, end each meeting by outlining the next steps that each participant must take. Ensure that each participant understands their role and the necessary steps required. Setting specific deliverables with deadlines increases accountability and helps ensure that the meeting’s intended outcome is achieved.

4. Use Technology to Facilitate Remote Collaboration
In the age of remote work, meetings can be conducted via technology. Video conferencing, email, chat, and other digital tools enable people to participate remotely. Remote meetings allow participants from around the world to collaborate without leaving their offices. By using technology to its full potential, businesses can save time and money by reducing the need for travel.

Meetings are an important part of the business workflow. They can be productive and purposeful when planned effectively. Clear agendas, limited attendees, actionable items, and remote collaboration are just some of the tools that can help streamline your meetings. By implementing these strategies, your business can maximize productivity, reduce lost time, and achieve better outcomes.

Shivendra helps construction and engineering companies win more projects and grow profitably. Regarded as a master of practical implementation, Shivendra has guided organizations such as Downer and Siemens as well as smaller contractors to achieve double-digit improvements to their bottom line. Underpinning his extensive industry experience are qualifications in engineering and a PhD focused on rapid cost improvement techniques. He is the author of two books, The Competitive Contractor and From Paper to Profit, the host of the Competitive Contractor podcast, and the founder of Shivendra & Co and The Constructors Network. You can find more about Shivendra & Co on