5 Ways to Hold a More Productive Meeting

Actually, despite the notion that board meetings are usually associated with 'bored' meetings, there's no reason we can't take a more proactive approach towards meeting productivity. After all, we're there for a reason. So why not make it a good one?

Forward-thinking companies all over the world are doing just that. From shortening and sharpening to turning on a timer - yes, a real timer - there are all sorts of clever ways to switch up the humble meeting.

UBC has been in the business of hosting meetings for years. As a company, we hold regular meet-ups with staff and teams but we also provide meeting venues to our business centre clients, to external businesses, and to virtual office clients. From freelancers and startups to SMEs and multi-nationals, we've hosted them all - so it's fair to say we know a thing or two about good (and not-so-good) meetings.

One word of advice: every organisation is different. Each has its own unique culture, so what works for one won't necessarily work for another. But it doesn't hurt to try - and you might just discover the secret sauce that makes your meeting tick.

1. Keep it Short and Sweet:

Buffer's Kevan Lee made a great point when he noted: "Work expands to the time you schedule for it." For this reason, he recommends following Percolate's lead by keeping meetings to 15 minutes or less. You can always adjust your time slot up or down as needed, but following this default helps to keep meetings concise and focused.

2. Don't Take It Sitting Down:

You sit during the commute, you sit at your desk, you sit during lunch. Switch things up a little by holding a standing meeting. It's a great opportunity to stretch your legs and get the blood circulation going, which in turn oxygenates your cells and helps you feel more alert. Plus, stand-ups remove the danger of falling into a comfortable, unproductive slouch. The result? Standing meetings are generally shorter, pointed, and more productive.

3. Banish Smartphones:

It's incredibly annoying and disruptive when attendees interact with their smartphones during a meeting. It's also a sure sign that they're not listening, which means you'll have to repeat the information again at a later date. So take the temptation away as soon as you step inside the meeting room. Banish all smartphones to a cupboard and make sure they're on silent mode, too. Those who can't bear to be separated from their smartphones will skip through the agenda as quickly and productively as possible.

4. Assign Actions:

This is a must-do for every meeting. Before you conclude, communicate a clear plan of action that includes next steps, who will take them, and by when they will be completed. The meeting organiser should ensure that all those who are accountable for next steps are clear on their objectives, and follow-up with the relevant people in a timely manner, where necessary.

5. Be Sensitive to Quieter Personalities:

There are certain people in your workspace who dread going into meetings. Whilst more extroverted team members may be happy to run the show, there are quiet, introverted personalities who may fail to speak up, even when they disagree with certain points or don't understand a task. If you, as the meeting organiser, suspect members of the team are holding back, don't challenge them publicly; instead catch up with them afterwards for a quick one-on-one session.

If you're the one who feels uncomfortable attending meetings, take a look at this insightful article by Quiet Revolution, which explains how introverted team-members can better cope with meetings. Part of this involves penning your ideas in advance and asking for more time to consider your options before putting forward ideas.

What other tips and pointers can you offer for better meetings? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Need a meeting venue? Check out UBC's range of meeting rooms across the UK, from Southampton to Warrington, online at ubcuk.com.