Do you often feel as though you spent half of your work day in a meeting, and have yet to get anything accomplished? Perhaps you are the one running the meetings and feel the participants lack enthusiasm or appear bored? Meetings can set the tone for your office environment, so why not strive for upbeat, purposeful, and productive meetings? Here are a few pointers to improve your participation and your ability to lead a productive meeting:

Tips for being an active participant:

  1. Be on time.  Being late is both annoying to your peers and also requires items to be repeated, which leads to inefficiency.
  2. Be positive and look for the positive.  In every meeting, there is at least some helpful piece of information that can you can use going forward.
  3. Participate.  There is nothing worse than asking a group of people a question, and getting no response and blank stares. Be respectful of the presenter and give him/her the same courtesy that you would appreciate.

Tips for being an effective leader:

  1. Prepare well and delineate a clear purpose for the meeting.  Try not to let the discussion get off-topic, or repetitive in nature. Aim to encourage the team with the purpose moving forward, with specific take-aways and goals for the immediate future.
  2. Be respectful of everyone’s time.  Start on time, endeavor to end on time, and never fill the time just for the sake of it. Consider cancelling a meeting if there is no specific need for everyone to be gathered, or consider sending an email if the topics are only informational and do not require discussion.
  3. Be energetic and involve others.  Meet with others ahead of time to encourage them to share their opinions, and set a positive and inclusive tone by asking questions of everyone.

Overall, meetings are a necessary part of our work culture, but they needn’t be tedious or negative. Make your next meeting a success by implementing one of these strategies, which can help others and improve your day too!