Meet Smart—And Promote a More Productive, Creative Office Space

You have those meeting facilities for a reason—to host group discussions amongst employees, and to meet with clients. But has it occurred to you that the way you use this essential office space is all wrong? There are many ways to have a very unproductive meeting that takes forever to accomplish its purpose (if it even does), but it’s easy to cut these bad habits out of your workplace if you simply replace them with new, better habits. Habits like…

Being Mindful of Time

First things first, start on time. Unless the straggler is your client or CEO, get started without them, and shut the door. This discourages people from being late in the future.

Now that you’ve started on time, how long should your meeting go? Many famously productive companies, like Google, Yahoo, and Apple, insist that shorter is better. A 10 to 15 minute meeting should be your default, and you can adjust for special circumstances. Enforce this rule with a timer, and when the timer ends, leave the meeting facilities. Don’t worry about getting everything done—it’s often been documented that many people are most creative when put under constraints. It forces people to focus on creating innovative ideas, and not meandering. And while we’re on the topic of meandering…

Having a Plan, Sticking to It

Every meeting should begin with a goal, and that goal should be met. One of the most effective goals to set is to have each participant walk away with a clear direction for what their next task will be on a given project. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously ended meetings by assigning a DRI—“directly responsible individual.” This made the person assigned accountable to ensuring that the agreed upon tasks were completed. Speaking of people…

Keeping It “Exclusive”

There’s no need to drain your entire office space into the meeting facilities for a discussion. The more people in the meeting, the more likely it is to go one of two ways: too many people scrambling to be heard over each other, or people becoming spectators instead of participants. For an effective meeting, you want every attendee to be actively participating. If they’re just stuffing the room, don’t invite them next time. They’ll be better off continuing work on their current task. For an ideal meeting size, you want to keep it to fewer than 10 people—and some may even suggest you keep it around five.

Banning Phones, Tablets, and Laptops

They’re just distracting. You know it, we know it. Leave phones at the door, and take notes the old-fashioned way.

What does your company do to foster a creative workforce in meetings, or in the office space in general?

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