By Jim Wong, CPA | August 16, 2017

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is no doubt that the summertime takes a toll on the rhythm of an office. There may be interns roaming around the office while many full-time employees are out on vacations, but that doesn’t mean business is out, too. There is still work to be done and your weekly meetings should be as productive as possible this summer.

Although it’s hard to keep count of how much time is spent in meetings, the hours taken up may be more than you think. In fact, almost 40 percent of an employee’s time is spent in meetings, but this fact is not an inevitable feat.

I recently came across an article from that talks about meeting mistakes that are commonly made and how to fix them—for any profession or industry. I found the article to be insightful and decided to share some of their tips along with a few of my own thoughts. Take a look at 4 Ways to Improve Your Weekly Meetings below.

1. Keep Attendance Minimal
A common mistake made when facilitating a meeting is inviting too many people to the party. When the attendance list is overwhelming, or some of the attendees have no place in the meeting, it can be very distracting and hard to communicate properly. Not only is a crowded meeting less likely to be effective, it’s also taking productivity hours away from those who don’t need to be there. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos uses the “Two Pizza Rule,” which states that the attendee list should be small enough for two pizzas to feed the group adequately. This rule not only rescues the meeting from obvious distractions, but also helps avoid groupthink.

2. Leave Distractions Behind
It may sound silly, but the strongest distractions are the ones that fit in your hand. Whether it’s a cell phone, tablet or even an afternoon snack, these are the things can take over the meeting when seen or heard. Don’t be afraid to ask that these devices or objects are left behind when attending the meeting. It may even be helpful to hand out some old-school notepads and suggest that the attendees be prepared to take hand-written notes.

3. Create an Agenda 
It is easy to lose the group’s attention when pursuing a tangent or speaking about a subject that is directed to only a few people. In order to assure the meeting is useful and relevant to all, create an agenda and assign different topics to various people in attendance. This strategy will encourage attendees to come prepared and be eager to participate. When time is designated to each participant and each topic, the functionality of the meeting will run more smoothly and organically.

4. Use Only Time Needed 
After conducting a more organized meeting, there may be some time left over. Instead of tap dancing around new topics to pass this time, trust in your adequate agenda! It is perfectly acceptable to let the meeting out early and allow the attendees more time to get other necessary work done, or to enjoy those summer hours!

These are only a few of the ways to improve weekly meetings. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.

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