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Make Your Meetings More Productive

We’ve all been in long meetings where we zone out and stop paying attention, even if only for a moment. Sometimes it’s because people get off topic, other times there may be no agenda or action items to follow. Either way, meetings should be a productive way to brainstorm and share new ideas, and to assign tasks that will be completed in a timely fashion.

Looking to become leaders in their industry

Co-founder and CEO of MeetingHero, a startup with a mission to rid the world of soul-crushing meetings, Dave Kashen shares five ways to make your meetings more mindful (and ultimately, more productive).

Self check-in: Whether you’re the leader or an attendee at a meeting, check in with yourself before it starts. Are you frustrated, anxious or peaceful? This can help you to assess your mental/emotional state and determine how you want to participate in the meeting. At least 70% of communication is non-verbal, so other attendees will be picking up on those cues of your inner state.

Group check-in: Many meetings, especially those with your immediate team, may be sidetracked from the beginning, with people chit-chatting and catching up. Kashen suggests to curb this distraction, have everyone in the meeting answer the same question: “On a scale of 1-10, how present are you right now?”

Allowing people to reflect on this will bring them to the present and do what they need to do to become focused specifically for the meeting at hand.

State your intentions: If you’re the leader of the meeting, let people know the intentions of the meeting. Go beyond the agenda content and share with people what it is you really want to get out of the meeting—do you want to gather ideas, foster communication between the group, or perhaps something entirely different?

Distinguish the parts: Most meetings have multiple parts. Rather than having a meeting that ends up as being one long conversation, it’s important to identify which part of the meeting you’re in—identifying a problem, generating ideas, evaluation ideas, making a decision, or planning the next steps. If you’re clear about which part of the meeting it is, everyone will be on the same page.

Wrap it up: It’s important to create action items at the end of your meetings. Be clear about who will be completing certain projects. If there’s a deadline, make sure it is stated clearly and documented. Determine how to resolve any issues that may still be open.

What helps you stay effective when leading a meeting? Do you utilize some or all of the above suggestions to stay on track?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.fastcompany.com/3033897/hit-the-ground-running/5-simple-steps-towards-more-mindful-meetings

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Image credit: iStockPhoto

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