Meetings are a massive part of working life, getting together those that are relevant to discuss things such as sales targets, upcoming ideas for expanding the business, and more. Yet while meetings are integral, many also find they’re not quite as useful as they might hope. This is because a lot of time can be spent talking about other things that aren’t relevant or straying off task. We’ve all heard of the saying “it could have been in an email!” Whether you are in charge of meetings or someone who attends them, chances are that you want to find a way to make the meetings more useful. Here we have put together some top tips to make the most of your time.

Set a clear agenda before you go into the meeting

There are many types of meetings, from those to discuss your impending marketing strategy to meeting with external companies such as who will show you how to future-proof your school and aid your children for higher education. Prior to commencing, you need to set a clear agenda, outlining all of the main points you want to cover and who should be in the meeting. This will help you to keep it on track and stop procrastinating or veering off topic too much!

Only select those that really need to attend to join

Another rookie error that many people make when setting up meetings is to invite everyone that might need to attend. In reality, most of these people don’t need to be pulled from their everyday roles and instead can just be caught up via email or a quick chat after. Prior to commencing the meeting, consider who the main attendees should be and whittle it down to just one person per department for example. This way there are still plenty of people working and not all shut up in one room with information that is only slightly relevant to them.

Have a set start and end time

Too often, meetings have a required time to start, but the time for it to end isn’t stated. This means that there is no sense of urgency or requirement to get all the information over within a set time period. Not only does it encourage unnecessary chat or talking about different things, but it also means you could end up working late or losing out on your lunch break. To avoid this, set a time for it to start and end, making allowances for going off topic but not too much. This way it’s efficient, allows for creativity and will get everything done that needs to be.

Write efficient notes following the meeting

Another big part of a meeting is the follow-up after. There will always be important things that need to be actioned and the better notes you make, the easier this will be. This is particularly true if you are only including the basic people for the meetings, as they will need to spread the word to the rest of the team and ensure things don’t get missed. If you don’t make good enough notes then the meeting is essentially pointless as the things that need to be done might not be in as much detail as they are required. It’s a good idea to have someone sit in on the meeting just to take notes.

Consider if a meeting is really needed

All too often meetings are called without really needing to be. It’s the default choice when something needs to be sorted, but instead you should consider if it really needs to have everyone pulled away from their tasks for it. Instead, think about if it can be in writing. You could send it as an email then if there are any follow up questions or if it’s too complex, decide to have a meeting instead. This means you’ll know it’s really needed.

These are a few top tips for making your work meetings useful that will ensure you get the most out of your time. Your hours at work are precious and as such you want to ensure you utilize them as much as you can. The goals of meetings are collaboration, efficiency and achieving your joint goal. By going in with a clear agenda and ensuring you don’t stray off the plan, it’s sure to be a success. What are some top tips you have for making your work meetings successful? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Originally Published on

Michael Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.