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    5 ways to make meetings more useful

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    Research has found that unproductive meetings cost the UK £582 million a week. Poor preparation and a tendency to go off-topic can ruin your plans for efficiency, but there are certain steps you can take when wrapping up a meeting to ensure everyone gets the right message from it.

    1 Go through the agenda again
    If your colleagues throw the meeting off track with an impromptu brainstorming session, remind them of the original purpose by doing a quick run-through of the agenda again with notes that you’ve taken throughout. Only go through the discussion points that are relevant to the agenda so you can solidify them in the attendees’ minds.

    2 Create action points
    Throughout the meeting, be sure to take note of action points and then assign them to specific colleagues at the end of the session. Doing this while you’re all in the room together shows everyone is integral to what was discussed and ensures they all know who’s responsible for what.

    3 Give time for questions
    Inevitably there will be someone who either hasn’t paid attention or needs clarification on something. Before you leave the room, ask if anyone has any last questions so they don’t forget to ask later. This might add time to your meetings, but it ensures everyone’s on the same page.

    4 Follow up
    As soon as you’re back at your desk, send a quick message to the attendees with a brief overview of what was discussed and a run-down of the action points. Doing so will keep the ideas fresh in your colleagues’ minds.

    5 Send detailed notes
    After you’ve had a chance to transcribe your notes, send them round to everyone who sat in the meeting – never assume they all took their own notes. Include the action points and assignments again, then give the attendees a chance to say if they disagree with anything you’ve written or need further clarification.

    Much of this is common sense for those who regularly run meetings, but taking these extra steps will ensure the discussion wasn’t a waste of time.

    Based on an article from The Muse; read the original at muse.cm/2oNFAPp

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson