Tuesday, 12 November 2019 14:13

Tip for More Productive Meetings

Meetings aren’t supposed to be fun, but they should be productive. Unfortunately, meetings are often viewed by many as a waste of time.

At American Lumber, make every effort to ensure there’s a good reason behind every meeting that is scheduled and that those who participate come away with a vision of happens going forward. At the same time, we understand the importance of making the best use of our time so that meetings can be productive.

Here are five tips that we have found useful in conducting effective meetings: DSC7580 Large

  1. Have an Agenda. Having an agenda for every meeting helps shape the discussion you hope will take place. The meeting agenda should include a schedule of time allotted for each topic and emailed to participants before the meeting takes place. Invite participants to put together a few bullet points so they come to the meeting prepared to actively contribute.
  1. Reduce distractions. Restricting the use of digital devices is never a popular move. But allowing meeting participants to text, check email or post something on social media while a meeting is in progress is both unproductive and disrespectful. If you lead a meeting that stays focused and moves forward, people will be more likely to let go of their devices for that brief period of time and pay attention.
  1. Improve your meeting leadership skills. Assuming you, as a business owner or leader are calling a meeting, it’s your responsibility to lead it as skillfully as possible. This means crafting an agenda and sticking to it, as well as encouraging everyone involved to provide input, within reason. It also means restraining your own impulse to control the discussion.
  1. Follow through. The most productive meetings include a brief summing-up of what’s been discussed and decided. Summarize key action points, assign responsibility for upcoming tasks and ask if anyone has pertinent questions. Make sure team members leave with a clear understanding of what just took place. 
  1. Make productive meetings a habit. Let team members know that holding a meeting shouldn’t be the first course of action when presented with an issue or opportunity. Calling a meeting simply for a “status update” is unnecessary, given all the communications technology available to achieve this goal. Encourage people to address certain topics through email, small group conversations or simply one-on-one. Pretty soon, people will get the message and your meeting schedule will become less crowded and more productive.

Meetings still serve a useful purpose in the hardwood lumber industry. We often gain valuable information from our sawmill managers, lumber traders, foresters, and others who have their ear to the ground and can give other members of our team an idea of what is going on in the market. This could be noting changes in species demand like Walnut, Ash, Red Oak, or White Oak in certain industries, or even discussing sawing strategy with our sawmill managers.

This same sentiment probably holds true for your industry. By applying more discipline and focus, you can get people involved in the discussion and inspired to take further action on their own.

Have any tips you have found valuable for holding more productive meetings? We would love to hear them!

American Lumber
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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 14:31

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