Can we all be honest about one thing? We hate meetings. The typical meeting is too long and covers the information we’ve already heard. On top of that, we have far too many of them. There are an estimated 11 million meetings per day in the United States, with the average person attending 62 per month. But sometimes you just need to have a meeting, so how do you make meetings not suck?

Here are five useful tips to help you make your meetings more effective for everyone.

1. Respect People’s Time

Most meetings fail to start or end on time. This makes people feel that their time isn’t valued or respected. Next time you schedule your meeting, make sure it begins and ends on time. The use of an agenda and a timer can go a long way to let people know how much you value them, as well as making your time more efficient overall.

2. Know Why You’re Meeting

We’ve all been to a meeting that just got away from us or, even worse, one that seemingly had no point. Before you schedule a meeting make sure you know why you are calling it and limit the discussion to that purpose alone. This will keep meetings focused, shorter, and generate far better results than throwing ideas randomly on the table.

3. Give it a Structure

Knowing the purpose of a meeting is an incredible step. Structuring your meetings to meet that purpose will take you to the next level. This could be an agenda or having every person take an allotted amount of time to provide their update or information. Whatever this structure is, establish and implement it without hesitation.

4. Engagement is Vital

Everyone has a memory of sitting in a meeting, drifting off into a daydream. These moments can slow down a meeting and make it incredibly awkward. Make sure everyone is engaged in the first 10 minutes to enhance their focus on the matters at hand. This can be as simple as going around the table and asking how everyone is doing. It doesn’t have to be complex, but you do need to engage everyone early and often. Why have a meeting if you’re the only one speaking?

5. Take Visible Notes and Follow Up

Whatever you go over will only be as effective as the ability of people to remember it. Lead by example and let them see you taking notes. People will likely do the same. To help even more, send your notes out to everyone so they are aware of what you took away, and what your focus will be. This is a great way to keep everyone moving forward on the same page.

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