CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 10, 2016) - A recent study from Office Broker found that the average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. Over the course of a year, this translates into more than one full month spent with colleagues across a conference table. While meetings are a great way to gather and provide team input and updates, chances are, much of your coworkers' time -- as well as your own -- could be utilized more effectively.
"Meetings are an essential part of office life, but they can quickly go from productive to ineffective," said Sarah Yedlick, office expert and inventory analyst for Boise Paper. "Fortunately, it doesn't take much to transform meetings into the worthwhile sessions they're meant to be. By following our list of tips, you can become a 'Meeting Master' and earn respect and appreciation from your managers and colleagues."
Evaluate Your Goals - Before setting up a meeting, ask yourself if it's really needed. It's easy to get caught in a routine of weekly update meetings, but depending on the week, it's possible that needed updates could be provided more efficiently with an email or a brief phone call. Also consider timing -- are you giving participants enough time to effectively prepare valuable input, and are all the necessary players able to attend? If not, you'll get more value out of postponing or considering other options.
Put it on Paper - Prior to hosting any meeting, send a bulleted agenda via email to attendees, and have paper copies in the meeting room for everyone in attendance. A written agenda keeps both the leader and participants on task, and ensures priority topics and action items are discussed. Include a meeting objective so that the meeting's purpose remains top-of-mind, and consider allotting specific amounts of time for each agenda item so that each item gets the necessary amount of attention -- nothing more and nothing less. For high-profile meetings, presentation counts. High-quality paper like Boise POLARIS® Premium Multipurpose paper is ideal for impressive client- and customer-facing agendas and meeting documents.
Arrange for Efficiency - If you're the leader of the meeting, all eyes should be on you. Arrange the seating so that all the participants are facing you, as well as whatever screens, whiteboards or props you intend to use. This will help eliminate distractions and make it easier for participants to stay focused and pay attention.
Keep it Exclusive - Everyone likes to feel included, but when it comes to meetings, less is more. With more attendees comes greater potential to veer off-topic. Also, keep in mind that each hour spent in a meeting is one hour that could have been spent on other work, so as a host, keep the meeting limited to the essential players and decision makers whose input and updates are needed.
Start and Finish on Time - Don't reward stragglers by waiting for them to arrive before starting the meeting. Starting -- and ending -- meetings at the published times shows respect for your colleagues and their time, and helps set a precedent for the future. In that same vein, if you're invited to a meeting, be considerate of your co-workers and arrive on time. If being late is inevitable, send an update to the host as soon as possible so that they can decide whether to continue without you, or postpone the time.
Follow Up - Once the meeting concludes, distribute paper copies of the meeting minutes or to-dos within 24 hours of the meeting. Meeting minutes don't have to be a word-for-word account of the meeting, but they should include important topics and assignments. This last -- but essential -- step also eliminates any ambiguity over assignments and next steps and ensures everyone is on the same "page" -- literally.
With these six tips, you'll be able to make the most of your meetings in no time. For more tips on efficiency and productivity in the workplace, visit www.BePaperSmart.com.
About Boise Paper:
Boise Paper is a division of Packaging Corporation of America, headquartered in Lake Forest, IL. Boise Paper manufactures a full line of quality papers including imaging papers for the office and home, printing and converting papers, and papers used in packaging, such as label and release papers. Through its Paper with Purpose® promise, Boise Paper commits to delivering excellent value while sustaining environmental, economic, and social resources for future generations. Keep current with news and events at www.BoisePaper.com.