How to Run an Effective Meeting

Olivia Scholes

Marketing Associate - 27 Mar, 2019

Ah, meetings. We all love an effective meeting. But, why is it that most meetings these days feel more like a waste of time?

Whether you dread or look forward to meetings, there’s no doubting that they are a massive part of having a job. It doesn’t matter if you work remotely or in an office, they’re a huge part of a successful work week.

Meetings are where we go to unload our ideas on our colleagues, drink coffee, and get stuff done. However, for the most part, these meetings aren’t very productive at all.

As a matter of fact, executives consider 67% of meetings unproductive. Considering that most meetings last an average of 31-60 minutes, you’re losing four hours every week. Furthermore, if you’re a manager, you might be losing three times as much.

And that isn’t even counting the hours spent in preparation.

This time-and-energy-suck isn't only a huge knock to office productivity, it’s also the most effective way to burnout. This is time you could be spending on your work and finishing it up to have YOU time.

Seriously, run this free meeting stats tool to see how much time you’re spending on what could be - but aren’t - effective meetings.

How much time do I need for an effective meeting?

It’s common knowledge that 1-hour meetings are very rarely just one hour. There’s a reason we book conference rooms for a longer period of time: Meetings run over.

A lot.

But they don’t have to.

Instead of setting aside a rough hour, designate a specific amount of time for each section.

Additionally, one hourly meeting per week might not be needed either.

Here are our recommendations for the optimal amount of time for each type of meeting:

  • Check-in: 15 minutes
  • Meeting: 30 minutes
  • Monthly recap: 1 hour

That’s it!

With the advent of the internet and increasingly productive software, anyone can easily schedule a meeting. One that doesn’t fill anybody with dread or eat away at your time.

With apps for conference calling and meetings, management and organization, and calendars and schedules; meeting management becomes a breeze.

Once the meeting management is dealt with, you’ll have all the time in the world to do your job.

Everybody runs meetings differently. There isn’t just one way to have an effective meeting and what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for the entire team.

Luckily, there is far more choice out there than we might first realize. There are different apps for things like planning or communication, all of which work in different ways.

Effective meeting

Communication

One thing is for sure: you can’t have a successful relationship without communication. Similarly, you also can’t have a successful team without it either. Luckily, meetings no longer even have to be in the same room.

Slack

You’ve been snoozing if you haven’t heard of Slack. Slack is team management software and mobile workplace taking the world by storm.

You can:

Zoom

Zoom lets you set up video conferencing calls directly from your Google or Outlook calendar. With Zoom, you can have video calls, audio calls, screen-share and more.

You can:

  • Share the presentation you’re working on
  • Set up and access meetings from your calendar

Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a really good option for effective team meetings. Almost everyone has a Google account, to begin with, and, if not, guests don’t need one to be involved.

You can:

effective meeting

Planning

Planning and scheduling your meetings can make sure they don’t go on longer than they should. Try setting aside assigned time and not stretching beyond that.

Calendly

By far the easiest way to schedule meetings, Calendly removes all of the hassles by integrating with Google, Outlook, and Office 365.

You can:

  • Set notificationsto alert you about upcoming meetings
  • Automate appointment scheduling

Google Calendar

Google Calendar integrates with everything from Shift to Slack. It might even be the most forward-thinking calendar software from all the big companies.

You can:

Todoist

There are plenty of to-do list apps online and each of them has its own special feature. However, Todoist is the world’s favorite.

You can:

  • Create a list of what to bring up during meetings
  • Keep track of assigned tasks

Meeting Templates

The best way to stay on track with your meetings is to plan out the topics ahead of time. At Shift, we're big fans of using meeting templates to list all the topics to be covered in the meeting. This way, everyone is on the same page before the meeting even starts.

Here are a few that might be helpful:

Effective meeting

Organization

To ensure your meeting is productive, you need to prepare prior to. Chaos simply doesn’t breed productivity. Thankfully, organizational apps abound.

Asana

One of the most popular team management apps in the world, Asana offers teams a virtual whiteboard on which to place their virtual post-its.

You can:

Trello

Known for its simplicity and ease-of-use, Trello uses the Japanese Kanban technique to manage your workflow. That includes meetings!

You can:

Feedback

Interested in hearing what your teammates think about the meeting you just held? Feedback can limit wasted time and also let you know what to cover in the next meeting.

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey completely outranks all of its competitors when it comes to feedback. Leaving a survey at the end of each meeting will give everyone time to look over it.

You can:

  • Ask what times are best for the team
  • Get feedback on your meetings to make them more effective

Meetings might be in a state of decline, but they don’t have to be.

With apps like those listed above and legions of others, they can be quick and effective without hindering productivity.

Furthermore, using software like Shift, you can seamlessly switch between different accounts on all of them. That makes for even less time logging in and out of different services.

Meetings should be awash with ideas, and with apps like Trello, Shift, and Gmail, they can be once again.