When one thinks of “efficiency” in the workplace, meetings don’t usually come to mind. While meetings are intended for the sharing of ideas, collaboration, and open communication, few meeting participants ever feel that anything of value was accomplished. An unproductive meeting costs a business more than wasted time; it can hurt employee morale and also lead to decreased job satisfaction.
Lack of an agenda, off-topic tangents and criticism are just a few pitfalls that can quickly derail a meeting. If your goal as a law firm owner is improving the productivity of your workplace, keep reading. Here’s how to conduct meaningful meetings that provide value to you, your employees, and your business’ bottom line.
Start On Time
What’s more frustrating than having to break your concentration to attend a meeting? A meeting that doesn’t start on time. It may seem to be only a few minutes here and there, but with many businesses conducting meeting multiple times a week – and sometimes, even several a day – those few minutes really add up. Not only is time being wasted, but it sends a negative message to your team that their time isn’t perceived as being valuable. Create a positive reputation for meetings by having them begin precisely when they are scheduled to be.
Keep Meetings Short
Physiological research has shown that 10 to 18 minutes is the maximum amount of time that individuals can hold their focus before becoming distracted. Setting a short time limit also encourages presenters and attendees to be precise and to the point. This is a great way to avoid time-wasting off-topic tangents. One popular method to keep meetings short is having participants stand during the meeting. With everyone anxious to get off their feet, the meeting is bound to discuss only what’s absolutely necessary.
Keep the Electronics Out
When it comes to productivity, cell phones and laptops are often more of a hindrance than they are helpful. Simply having these devices nearby can impair focus and cognitive ability. But there’s another benefit to ditching the electronics besides minimizing distractions. Research has shown that taking notes by hand (versus on a computer) greatly improves conceptual understanding and recollection.
Give Praise & Recognition (Not Criticism)
Another way to conduct more meaningful meetings is by creating a positive atmosphere that’s enjoyable for participants to attend. Company culture is a huge factor in job satisfaction. Public praise is a fantastic way to make feel your team feel appreciated and valued. Give praise for accomplishments your team has made, as well as valuable feedback in the meeting – this is a great way to encourage meeting participation and to have attendees feel invested in the topic at hand. Conversely, openly criticizing your employees creates a negative atmosphere where meetings are dreaded.
Use Video Conferencing
If face-to-face meetings aren’t possible (perhaps you are running your law firm remotely or schedules simply won’t allow for it) opt for video conferencing over phone calls. Remote participants in meetings are noted for being disengaged – many admit to multitasking on non-related tasks. Aside from that, 80% of communication is done via body language, making video conferencing that much more effective.
Ask Yourself: Is a Meeting Necessary?
The ever-increasing demands on lawyers (such as carrying out administrative tasks in addition to litigation) have made the need for improving productivity in the law firm more crucial than ever. Yet American businesses are spending more and more time in meetings – which 71% of participants feel is a waste of time.
Knowing how to conduct meaningful meanings is just one part of running an efficient law practice. If your law firm is struggling to keep up with the many duties lawyers face, the experts at Attorney Business Consulting can help. The team of experienced law consultants can help improve productivity in a number of ways: from training your staff how to properly answer phone calls to developing an entire business plan. Contact Attorney Business Consulting for your free consultation today.