Everyone, regardless of industry, likely has to suffer through meetings on a regular basis. This time used to go over topics past, present, and future can be a serious drag for some. If your personality is better suited for contact activity, taking even 30 minutes out of your day to sit still for a meeting that doesn’t have anything to do with you or your work can feel like a gigantic waste of time.
But since meetings like these are often mandatory, you might as well figure out how to make the most of them. Here are three tips on how to avoid meeting burnout.
1. Come prepared
So long as the meeting you’re attending wasn’t thrown together on the fly, make it a point to go in prepared. Jot down a few relevant questions and notes on your thoughts. It can be difficult to retain information, whether the meeting felt as if it went on forever or was super fast-paced, so make sure you take some notes. You don’t want to leave the meeting as clueless as you came in. Future you will thank you for the reference.
2. Ask Questions
Go into every meeting with a list of questions you can ask. Not only are you getting the answers you need to perform better, but you’re also showing your colleagues and superiors that actually care. Being involved and actively participating can help you avoid meeting burnout.
The questions you ask can give you more clarity about your responsibilities, as well as keep the meeting on track. Meetings can get thrown off topic very easily, but by using your questions to guide the direction of the meeting, you’ll be able to keep everyone together and speed through the meeting much faster.
3. Keep it short & sweet
The longer a meeting lasts, the more likely it will go off topic — if it hasn’t already. Look: no one likes meetings, but they’re a necessary part of business. Part of hosting a worthwhile, productive meeting is knowing whether your topic(s) of discussion warrant a sit-down in the first place. For example, a brief topic that doesn’t necessarily require everyone to block off 30 minutes of their day to sit in a conference room and discuss may be better suited as a memo.
If you absolutely must put together a meeting, keep it as focused and to-the-point as possible. Make sure you — or whoever is putting the meeting together — has an agenda or list of talking points to refer to. This will help everyone stay on topic instead of straying into an unrelated conversation. When you have a timeline and make it known that you want to adhere to it, everyone is less likely to get sidetracked.
Yes, some meetings end up being total time-sucks, but don’t waste your precious time away from your desk by zoning out like nothing affects or pertains to you. If you get invited to a meeting, try to make the most of it.