We’ve all been there. Stuck in a meeting that seems completely pointless, thinking about all the things we could and should be doing instead. It’s not our imagination. Statistics say that approximately half of time spent in meetings is wasted. Eliminating them altogether, however, isn’t always possible. The key is to ensure that the time your employees have to spend in meetings is as efficient and effective as possible. Here’s how.
First, determine if the meeting is absolutely necessary. With today’s technology, tools like email and instant messaging can make it easier and more efficient to connect and collaborate without having to pull everyone together in one place. If the issue at hand can be solved using another means, handle it that way instead.
For times when meetings are, indeed, necessary, figure out which method of gathering everyone would make the most sense. Again, technology is a great tool for keeping people connected, so leverage this to your advantage. Instead of making everyone trek to the office, consider holding a video or dial-in meeting. This will allow your employees to optimize their time more effectively.
Regardless of when, where and how the meeting will take place, the next important step is preparing ahead of time by creating a detailed agenda. List out all the things that need to be discussed and set time limits on each. This will keep everyone on track and avoid wasting valuable time. It will also help whoever is leading the meeting to keep to a specified time-frame.
Always start on time. If stragglers happen to show up late, so be it. Waiting for everyone to arrive, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes, can really make it difficult to get everything accomplished in the specified amount of time. The most important items on the agenda should always be covered first, and a summary of each discussion should be compiled and documented for future reference. Assign one person to handle meeting “minutes” at each gathering.
Avoid falling into the “we’ll reconvene” trap when trying to wrap up a meeting. The goal of every property management team meeting should always be to complete all the important agenda items and resolve whatever issue is at hand. Try not to leave the option of rescheduling a follow-up meeting open unless absolutely necessary.
Finally, always close meetings by summarizing the results, specifying next steps, time-line and expectations, and assigning specific responsibilities to each party. It’s important that every person who attended the meeting walks away with a clear understanding of what was accomplished as well as what they’re role is in carrying out any specific tasks assigned.
Few people look forward to meetings, particularly those in the busy property management industry. Unfortunately, these things cannot always be avoided. If and when a meeting is absolutely necessary, applying the above guidelines should help you and your team get the most out of the time spent together for the benefit of your business.
Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to optimize meetings in your property management organization? Please share in the comments below.
Find out what more you can do to boost the productivity of your property management business. Download a free copy of The Property Manager’s Guide to Maximizing Productivity.