Quick, when was the last time you were in a productive meeting?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. According to a survey carried out by Industry Week, 2000 managers claimed that at least 30% of their time spent in meetings was a waste of time.

Thankfully, we here at Curve have gone through a lot of meetings and we’ve become very good at getting the most out of your meetings.

1.     Build up ideas before shooting them down

This is incredibly important for brainstorming meetings.

Don’t rule out any idea, no matter how silly it might sound initially. It’s tempting to reject ideas that sound ridiculous or stray outside the status quo, but you can worry about that later. One of our personal rules for meetings is to write everything down before you write anything off.

2.     Avoid groupthink like the plague

Groupthink is one of the worst things that can happen to a meeting. Basically groupthink is when one idea starts picking up steam, and everyone just accepts it without really evaluating it.

What’s dangerous here is that you could end up settling on a mediocre idea when you could have a superior idea. Don’t settle for less just to end the meeting faster!

If you notice that groupthink is happening, take the initiative by forcing a debate. Play devil’s advocate and try to point out some flaws or mistakes and encourage others to join you. The overall quality of ideas will improve by encouraging critical thinking.

3.     Keep an open mind

If someone disagrees with your idea, it’s not the end of the world. The whole point of a meeting is to share ideas and increase productivity, even if some egos are bruised.

If someone else dislikes your idea, take their idea into consideration. Find out exactly why they dislike the plan and argue with facts and data. If you turn out to be wrong, admit your mistake, fix your idea, and keep moving forward.

It might sound straightforward, but pride makes this simple step incredibly difficult, especially if team members are from different departments. Remember, everyone on the team shares a common goal. It’s more important to come up with a good idea than to stroke your ego.

Remember, the only reason anyone should be having meetings is because they increase productivity through sharing information. Keep your meetings productive and relevant or they will just become another time-sink.

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