Meetings often seem like veritable blackholes for your time. More often than not, nothing real seems to have been accomplished and everybody walks back with only a vague idea of having done something. There are times, however, when meetings are required, but even in these cases, they can be overly time-consuming and detrimental to productivity. They can cause frustration among the employees and make one feel that they haven’t achieved anything productive.

These hours spent in any conference may be a huge draw on your time, but they can still be utilized if one is aware enough. Here’s how you can make meetings work to your advantage:

Prepare

The reason behind office meetings is that they are often essential to the day-to-day work of the company. Being prepared for them is as crucial as it is to attend them. Do not go to the meeting hoping to be a passive observer. Always be prepared to chip in with opinions and suggestions as and when required. This requires you to be prepared and to know what it is that the meeting entails. Try and prepare a few questions that you would like answered. If you are asked into a meeting there is something expected from you, try and do the needful research that will ensure you are not wasting your time at the meeting. The idea should be to at least come back with some learning from these meetings.

Stay On the Topic

The worst part of long meetings is that they often tend to meander all over the place. There will more often than not be a lot of people at the meeting. Trying to keep everyone on the topic may be a difficult task. If you have convened the meeting make sure you deal with all the important topics before opening the floor to questions, this way you can save a lot of time. If you are just attending the meeting, try and gently steer the conversation back to the topic at hand in case you see the conversation drifting.

Listen Actively

The most important thing about meetings is listening to the individual who has convened the meeting. It can be a new boss, a change in the office functioning, or any other subject. Being a careful listener will ensure that you not only know the topic being discussed but also gives the convener of the meeting confidence that he or she has managed to get through. Active listening is not just the act of absorbing the information but digesting it and raising pertinent questions around it. Try and participate as much as you can, who knows, this may just hold you in good stead with your bosses moving forward.

Take Notes

Most meetings usually have people who are designated to take down the minutes of the meeting. Just to make sure you are not drifting away, keep taking notes. If the conversation seems to be drifting you can always go back to the notes to raise a point to bring the conversation back to the topic. This is also a great way to help you surreptitiously finish some work while the meeting is drifting off topic. Use this time to write down your to-do list, or to check off and/or add items to it in accordance with the meeting conducted.

What do you think?

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