Most corporate institutions, banks and credit unions included, spend a great deal of time in meetings. Staff meetings, management meetings, team meetings and meetings to help plan meetings are but a few. In fact, a recent article indicates up to half of all manager and executive time work hours are spent in meetings.

The question becomes, if we are bound to spend all this time in meetings, what can we do to help make the time as productive as possible? Here are a few tips to help make your organization’s meetings less of a time-kill and more of an exercise in relevance.

1)     Every meeting should produce an action plan. Nothing drains morale more than to require employees to spend hours in a room where nothing is accomplished. Make sure every meeting has some sort of actionable set of steps at its end and that people report back on those steps.

2)     Latecomers beware. If people are late for a meeting, tough. Do not waste the time of the people that made it on time by rehashing the first few minutes for latecomers.

3)     Opt-out option. Whenever possible, allow employees the option on opting out of select meetings, without fear of reprisal or requiring justification.

4)     Meeting leaders must control their meetings. Do not allow one or two people to hijack meetings to rant on their own manifestos or gripe lists.

5)     Whenever possible, end meetings early. People will be pleasantly surprised by this and will respect the fact that the respect their time over simply running out the clock.

Meetings are a necessary evil in the corporate world, but they need not dominate every waking hour of the workday. With a little preparation and forethought, managers can help end the dread of meetings and turn that time into something productive for all involved.