Simple things keep meetings productive, we learn them initially and perhaps need reminding.
1. Set clear agenda & objectives
Like most things its rare to get what you want from something, if you don’t know what it is you want. This is just as true for meetings so set clear objectives, be clear about what you want and communicate it clearly to attendees.
2. Start on time, keep them short and finish on time
Constraints drive productivity, limit the time available and make sure everyone is aware of it. Continually turning up or starting late signals poor time management or a lack of respect for others time.
If you need longer than an hour consider breaking it up into two smaller meetings, you probably won’t need everyone for the whole two hours.
3. Take actions and make a single person accountable
Meetings should guide or generate activity, they are not productive if they aren’t doing this. At the end of every meeting go through the actions, making sure there is a single person responsible and there are clear deadlines.
4. Keep meetings small
I think there is a sweet spot for a productive meeting between 3-7 people , anything bigger becomes difficult to manage and you begin to lose the focused, collaborative feel. If a meeting needs lots of people think about breaking it up.
All of these points apply to a conference call, actually they’re more important. These are our thoughts, what do you think?