Using a meeting agenda to increase productivity

It is common knowledge that whatever work is around, will occupy the whole day.  If you are given 1x or 3x work, it will fill whatever time slot is allotted for that task. So it is essential to allocate work productively. When sitting in a meeting, each attendee may have a different idea about the purpose of the discussion. So, to drive productivity in your sessions, it is essential to have an agenda before you start the meeting. When you explicitly define the points of discussion, the outcomes and the action to be taken after a meeting, it is easy to make your sessions more useful.

In the military system, they do not have meetings; they have briefings. While people are free to ask questions, they are expected to be crisp and to the point,making it easy to take decisions quickly and efficiently.  Some companies also use‘Standing meetings’ to make sure meetings do not stretch unnecessarily for hours.  Sometimes, the big boss appoints a person to be the moderator. If someone goes off the topic, the moderator can quickly stop the conversation and redirect it towards the question at hand.

Setting up a clear agenda for a meeting is a practical approach to bring control and improve productivity in conferences.Another way to make your discussions more productive is to set a time limit for your session and conduct it away from your regular work space.

 When you hold meetings in your regular workplace, there might be constant interruptions to your discussions due to work emails, SMS messages or colleagues knocking on the door. It is hard to pay attention when the demand for your focus comes from so many directions.

 In some confidential meetings, you might be asked to hand over your phones to ensure no one can listen to the conversation by using a bug or a hacked device. This trend is becoming increasingly common in F500 companies’ quarterly reviews. Public listed companies have to work very hard to stave off speculators who try to eavesdrop on quarterly review meetings. So it has become common for bigger corporations to conduct private meetings off-site. There are many venues which are willing to hand over the entire location to you for the whole day to assure privacy.

Here are a few examples of places that you can book when you need to stay productive and have successful meetings.

  1. Westbourne Conference Suite, London

Located in the Mercure London Paddington,Westbourne Conference Suite is a private meeting space that can accommodate up to 40 people at a time. Widescreen monitors, wired and wireless high-speed Internet, AV equipment and a spider phone, it has all the essential components of an ideal meeting room. Paddington London Underground Station and the Paddington Station (mainline) are just 3-4 minutes’ walk from the location. The venue can be hired on an hourly basis, making it economical for instant meetings. It also has a separate breakout area to give you a breather in between the sessions.

  1. Stratton Suite, London

Situated on the Berkeley Street, Stratton Suite is perfect for a private meeting. The room can accommodate up to 100 people in standing or 30 in aboard room format. The room is filled with natural daylight,and it also has a private foyer area that can be used for catering or exhibition.

This venue is just a block from Green Park underground station and half a kilometer away from the Piccadilly Circus Station.Rooms are available for an hourly rental and also at discounted full day price. Projector/TV and a few other items may be requested at an additional cost.

  1. The Garden Room

The Garden Room at the Green coat Place is an excellent value for money meeting room. It can fit up to 12 people in the boardroom format and provides two whiteboards, projector, flip chart,and WIFI. It is ideal for holding interviews, conferences and even private meetings. The staff at The Garden Room is known for their helpfulness and professionalism. Many businesses use the venue regularly as it has all the basic needs and comes at a very reasonable price.

The venue is located about 8 minutes’ away from the Victoria Station. Alternatively, you can reach St. James’s Park tube station by a 10-minute walk.

Here is a simple tip to regain control when the meeting goes on to a different track. Write your agenda on a flip chart and place it so that everyone can easily see it. Tell your colleagues that if they feel anyone is taking the meeting off track, point to the board and ask to get back on track.

 Having a clear outcome in mind will help to get more productivity out of your meetings.Some people naturally tend to start small talk when the topic is not of their concern. This can be reduced efficiently by keeping a close eye on your participant’s list. Do not invite anyone who is not necessary for a specific meeting. In case they are needed only for a certain amount of time, slot them in the order of appearance. Ask them to come into the group only when asked to. This is especially important when you are discussing confidential information.  For example, if the department heads are presenting in front of the board, slot them one after the other. This way, department heads will present only in front of the board and information is contained only to the people who need it.

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