How to have more Productive Meetings (as an attendee)

Meetings are an important aspect of professional jobs and quite frequently regular meetings are scheduled with a particular client, customer or team. However, when meetings are regularly held it is all too easy to have boring and unproductive meetings. It is important to set an agenda, stick to the agenda and do the necessary follow-up work.

So how do you have more productive meetings when you are not the one in control?

1. Prepare for the meeting

Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the agenda beforehand. Usually an agenda will be circulated to the attendees in advance of the meeting. If this is not done on a regular basis mention this to the person calling the meeting (or their PA) and see if you can get a ;send agenda 24 hours in advance’ routine in place. This benefits all attendees, allows up to do any necessary prep work and gives you time to consider any other business that could be appropriately dealt with at the meeting.

The monthly meetings notebook from Printed Portal has space for 10 agenda items with space for notes or annotations and a larger space at the bottom of the page for A.O.B items. When I receive and review an agenda in advance of the meeting I quickly copy the points across from the agenda into the notebook. Mentally as I am copying these I consider each point and evaluation any comments, questions I might wish to raise and prepare any necessary contributions.

2. Arrive on time and Stick to the Agenda

Meetings should start on time to not waste time. As an attendee try to arrive promptly and actively contribute where possible to keep the flow of meeting progressing.

3. Take Notes

This is part of actively contributing. Be alert and make concise and relevant notes.

4. Confirm action points

Confirm action points during the meeting. On the action points page of the monthly meetings notebook from printed portal I keep track of follow-up actions that are prompted by the meeting. If there is a deadline or a prerequisite action these should be noted as well and checked off when completed. I use this in conjunction with the calendar pages to plan my time.  Be clear about your role and your objectives.

5. Only ask questions that need to be dealt with at the meeting

(and are a good use of everyone’s time).

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Maintain your Productivity this Summer

The weather has been pretty good for UK weather recently and I have found it getting hot (and humid) in the office. The balmy weather has caused more idle chitchat in the afternoons, the whirling fans and open windows are ruffling papers and people think it is acceptable to wear flip-flops around the office.

How are you coping with the weather? Do you need to boost your productivity?

Below are some tips for maintaining your productivity in this weather:

1. Plan your vacation time

If you plan your summer holiday and book some time off you will spend less time ‘dreaming’ about having a few days off. If you have nothing special planned take a couple of long weekends – have a break and get out and enjoy the sun while it lasts.

2. Start work earlier when it is cooler

If you can work flexible hours or even if you want to be more productive on a regular work schedule – do the important things first thing in the morning and the lighter tasks in the afternoon when you are more likely to be distracted.If you have flexible working hours you have the added bonus of leaving the office earlier to do what you want in the long summer evenings.

3. Drink plenty of fluids (and stick a spare drink in the fridge)

There is nothing worse than getting dehydrated or developing a headache when you have a busy day ahead of you. Drinking plenty of fluids will keep you hydrated and keep you cool. A cool refreshing drink is an extra bonus (for desperate times).

4. Keep a breeze flowing through the office

Whether you dig out the fans or open the window – try to maintain a cooler and more comfortable temperature in the office. Just make sure any loose paper is weighted down and that there are no distractions (road works or lawnmowers) outside.

5. Wear lighter clothing

Sometimes it can be hard to wear professional clothing and still remain cool. I usually wear light colours and dresses or short-sleeved shirts that I can pop a jacket over if a client drops in. If you are lucky you may even have a more relaxed summer dress code.

6. Take a Short Walk (or Don’t)

For some people taking a walk outside can work wonders for their productivity a few minutes of some extra sunrays can be extremely satisfying. Other people prefer not to go outdoors at all as it is the exposure to the sun that makes their productivity go out the window. Work out which one you are and adapt your behaviour accordingly.

What are you doing to help maintain your productivity levels this summer?