Although they are a necessary element of daily working life, there have always been concerns over how workplace meetings may hinder employee productivity. Small talk, connection issues and latecomers all contribute to meetings becoming long and tedious. There are techniques that can help improve communication during meetings to ensure each meeting is more of a help than a hindrance to your company.

It starts with ensuring that each of your meetings start with a sense of purpose. This can be defined via a handout, email or discussed from the outset. The agenda will help keep the meeting on track, preventing employee’s becoming bored or restless. As well as an agenda, you should send an email around explaining the reason for the meeting which means everyone walking into the meeting will be aware of the set aims and objectives.

Ensure the meeting doesn’t go on for too long by setting a time limit, all employees should know what the meeting is about before. They will know whether it is to solve a problem, discuss a project or to talk about new business opportunities. This will help speed the process along while still getting an effective outcome. Attendees are more likely to stay motivated if the meeting doesn’t drag on.

Ask all employees to comment on the meeting procedure and reinforce that you want them to come forward with any ideas or suggestions they may have on improving the set-up. Employee’s will appreciate your efforts to listen to them and will be more pro-active if they see their suggestions being put into place.

Implement a policy that doesn’t allow people to be sitting on their technology toys instead of listening to what’s being discussed. If employees are surfing the web, emailing or surfing the web then they won’t be taking in anything else. Meaning the only result of their attendance will be wasted time, have a no tolerance policy for this.

Ensure every meeting ends with a discussion for what the next steps will be. There is no point in ending it with no set plan on how to achieve the objectives or solution to a problem, it should end with deciding who will be responsible for what, deadlines and any other aspects that need to be confirmed.

Most meetings can be a motivating and a valuable asset to your company. All you have to do is follow these steps and put in effort to make sure they are all this way.