Meetings are necessary. They are a great way to provide employees with new information, and they are a must if any training is needed, but that doesn’t mean they are all necessary.

    Most employees hate meetings, and with some good reasons. One of the biggest is that they are simply too long.

    They don’t have to be! If you can cut back the time spent in meetings, your employees will be able to spend more time during the day getting their work done. Not to mention, they’ll be more likely to look forward to the next meeting if they know they won’t be stuck in the conference room all afternoon!

    Exactly how do you reduce the time you spend in meetings? Here are five ideas to try.

    Use Sharing Software

    Meetings are a great way to share information with your coworkers and employees, but do you really need to have a meeting just to share information?

    If you can send information that your employees can look over in their own time, they will greatly appreciate it. Using email is one way to do it, but it’s even easier if you use the right software.

    Sharing software provides the right people with the right access to the right materials at the right time. For example, trusted virtual data rooms allow colleagues to collaborate using an activity tracker and Q&A right in the program, preventing the need for meetings.

    Schedule “No Meeting” Days and Times

    Meetings can be annoying to employees, but they can be bad for business too. Meetings can decrease productivity, and they can do it by a lot if the meetings are too long or too frequent. One way to ensure everyone has a chance to focus on tasks instead of focusing on meetings is by creating “no meeting” days and times.

    With designated times when meetings can’t be scheduled, employees can truly focus on their work without worrying about an impromptu meeting. It can also force you to think carefully about whether you need that meeting at all, if you know it will have to wait until the next day.

    Just be careful. No having meetings one day doesn’t mean you schedule more meetings the next!

    Create Meeting Agendas

    There are many reasons why a meeting can be just a little too long. One of the biggest culprits is a lack of focus. There’s nothing more frustrating for meeting attendees than sitting in a conference room while the presenter tries to figure out what slideshows to show or shares a long-winded story about an unrelated topic. Instead, create an agenda for each meeting.

    There are many different meeting agenda templates you can choose from that will help you get your thoughts in order. By taking a few minutes before the meeting to get your thoughts and your materials together, you can ensure the meeting goes smoothly, which means it will go quickly.

    Cut out the Extras

    A lot can happen in a meeting. Unfortunately, a lot of what happens has nothing to do with the meeting itself. If you want to cut back on the time you spend in the conference room, cut out the extras like:

    • Discussions after the presentation is over
    • Q&A session during or after the presentation
    • Review of the points that were just made
    • Dealing with issues specific to a single employee

    There are a lot of benefits to socializing at work, but it’s also something you should cut out of your meetings. You can greatly shorten the meeting time by getting down to work and saving the socializing for lunch time.

    Use a Timekeeper

    Few things are more irritating to your employees than a meeting that starts late or goes longer than it was supposed to. Do everyone a favor by assigning someone the task of keeping track of the time.

    They can ensure you’re keeping an eye on the clock before the meeting begins, and they can tell you when there’s five minutes left to go. Whatever doesn’t get covered can be sent out to attendees later. It ensures everyone in the meeting knows exactly what to expect, and it can encourage you to stay on topic.

    There are many reasons why scheduling a meeting may be necessary, but that doesn’t mean it has to drag on for hours! Your employees will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to shorten the meeting as much as possible so they can get back to work.

    Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.