conducted a survey revealing that 24% of recipients feel that they spend more time in meetings talking about work than actually doing it. Sometimes businesses have meetings that are totally unnecessary; they happen simply because the business has insisted on regular meetings, even though there is nothing substantial or work-related that needs to be discussed. They are ‘meetings about meetings’. In purposeless meetings, employees will switch off, stare out of the window and think about their evening plans.

Businesses should consider how much time they are wasting by having unnecessary meetings. How much more productive could your business be if you cut out unnecessary meetings, only calling a meeting when something specific requires discussion?

The solution is simple: ask yourself first whether the meeting is necessary, and what colleagues should be there, and then do everything you can to maximise the potential of that meeting. Colleagues also need to consider carefully whether they need to be at the meeting, or whether reading the minutes afterwards will suffice.

How long should your meeting last?

Determining the length of your meeting – and sticking to it – is an important consideration. Ideally, an hour should be considered the absolute maximum, because when meetings go on longer than that, employees will start to disengage. A lot of companies try to have meetings that last half an hour or even fifteen minutes. Stick to your start and finish times, and if you finish early, don’t feel the need to fill the time. If the meeting is at the end of the day, let your employees/colleagues go home early. If the meeting is in the middle of the day, free your colleagues to return to their work.

What should you discuss?

Always make sure you have a formal agenda for when you start the meeting. Then stick to that agenda in order to make sure your colleagues do not go off on a tangent and all the items are discussed. Make sure the points you are making are relevant and capable of being understood by your audience. For example, talking about html coding to non-technical people will most certainly have them contemplating their dinner plans, or worse, falling asleep.

Always be prepared

Make sure you prepare your points in advance of the meeting; making things up on the spot can lead points to get lost, and it’s much easier for discussions to go off on a tangent. Look at the minutes for the last meeting and look at the formal agenda. Then make a private agenda of your own and list any questions you want to ask.

When should you hold the meeting?

Monday mornings are not normally a good time to hold meetings. People are still drowsy from the weekend, and sometimes less than thrilled about being back at work after a few days off. Having a meeting in which potentially controversial points might need discussing will not make a good start to anyone’s week. Friday afternoons are also not a great time for holding meetings; this is when people are more interested in discussing their plans for the weekend than thinking about the functions of the business. According to a survey, the best time to hold a meeting is 3pm on Tuesday afternoons.

Take minutes

If a meeting is truly necessary and valuable to attendees (and if it isn’t, the meeting shouldn’t be happening), then minutes are essential for making sure the value of a meeting is translated into progress for the business. Appoint someone to take minutes at the meeting and make sure important points and suggestions are noted, and actions and due dates are clearly recorded. Keep minutes brief and concise and break them up with bullet points (otherwise attendees are unlikely to read them). Then make sure the minutes are sent out the next day, while the discussions are fresh in people’s minds. Also, many staff won’t start to implement the actions until they receive the minutes in their emails.

Make sure your meeting space is suitable

The final key to a successful meeting is a suitable, appropriate and inspirational meeting space. You can find fully equipped meeting rooms for hire at Send Business Centre, which also offers technologically sound serviced offices, storage space and warehouses to let in Woking. Moreover, it sits on the banks of the beautiful River Wey Navigation Canal in the stunning Surrey countryside – an idyllic, creative and motivating spot for any meeting.