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Get To The Point: Why Short Meetings Are Best
  • 26 April 2016
  • Eric Michaels

Get To The Point: Why Short Meetings Are Best

In the course of growing a business, you'll find yourself adapting to a leadership role that extends to every aspect of the operation. Whether it involves establishing a productive work atmosphere, marketing your venture effectively, or simply delivering paychecks on time, each element of ownership requires a level of finesse. The way you handle meetings, for example, could have long-term implications on overall company productivity. How do you communicate with a team without stifling creativity or wasting time? Short meetings provide the focus your business will need to continue its growth. Here's why.

Getting to the point faster

When you accelerate the meeting and launch directly into the important business at hand, you'll find every staff gathering an exercise in efficiency. The problem is launching into the topic without much preamble. To figure out how to handle that objective, observing the way Toyota does it is useful.

A creative adviser to Toyota remarked that much of the groundwork work for the automotive giant's short meetings had been laid earlier. Team members had discussed the crucial topics and were ready to meet to finalize something. As a result, the meetings were brief and lasted in odd increments — in one case, a key decision was made during a one-minute meeting. Toyota emphasized efficiency in every aspect of its operation. The meetings were just one manifestation.

Tossing away the schedule

One way to guarantee someone will be late for a meeting is to schedule it at a certain time of day. Instead, wait to gather with your team once you see everyone in the office and know they're ready to contribute value to a meeting. It's difficult to achieve the same result when you schedule a meeting from 10:30 until 11:00.

The unannounced meeting won't be dreaded by staff, won't need to fit into a set time frame, and is unlikely to waste anyone's time. You won't have to wait for anyone to show — often the biggest time waster — and you're unlikely to stray from the key points and decisions your company needs to make. These meetings are efficient enough to be done standing up.

Even short meetings are essential

Workplace trust remains high when you communicate with your employees and ask for input regularly. This way of running a business makes employees feel that their opinions matter and that every member of your staff has an effect on the business as a whole. Meetings are the ideal way to find out where everyone stands when you make a decision. The team doesn't always have to agree, but the fact that everyone was allowed to voice an opinion and vote suggests every employee counts.

Once the topic at hand is covered and the decision is made, it's best to end the meeting as briskly and informally as it began. Meetings that devolve into social gatherings don't help anyone's productivity. In fact, they may serve to derail the train of thought someone had before the gathering took place. Enjoying the company of your employees is something to treasure, but leave it for a drink after work hours.

There is so much you can do with short meetings in your workplace. By tossing aside the schedule and focusing on making key decisions, your meetings should be productive for all concerned.

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