Think about the last time that you had a pointless meeting. How long ago was it? More likely than not, it might’ve been as recent as this week—or even today. Perhaps sitting in meaningless meetings is a weekly occurrence for you. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Disorganized, aimless meetings define our modern-day meeting culture. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a better, much more productive way to meet. Ever heard of “smart meetings”?

If not, you’ve come to the right place. Smart meetings unearth how powerful meetings can be. They’re masterfully structured to help attendees make more meaningful accomplishments, progress, and connections than ever before. All in all, they’re a saving grace in a flood of dumb meetings.

If you want to master the building blocks of smart meetings, get ready to take notes. Class is in session.

The Right Attendees

The importance of thoughtfully crafting your meeting invite list cannot be overstated. Bad meetings cost companies up to $37 billion a year due to employees losing time that they could spend on productive tasks. In other words, it’s imperative that your smart meetings include the right attendees so that no one’s time is wasted.

Including the best attendees allows for teams to reach their goals in record time and for meaningful connections to evolve. When planning an invite list, take time to consider the true stakeholders whose presence is absolutely essential, versus the team members who are on the fringe of the conversation and could spend their time on other high-value tasks. The last thing that you want is a meeting filled with people whose time could be better used elsewhere.

There’s also legit research behind the perfect number of meeting attendees. A professor at Stanford University found that the most productive meetings have between five and nine people. Including too many attendees increases the risk of “cognitive overload,” while including too few attendees decreases the diversity of perspectives.

The Right Time and Place

Smart meetings work for everyone’s calendar. They occur at the perfect time and place for all attendees. A meeting’s time and place plays an integral role in its success, yet meeting coordination isn’t always easy. When scheduling across multiple time zones, teams, and available work hours, setting up a meeting can feel like a massive headache. 

To spend less time coordinating meetings and more time focused on high-value tasks, enlist the help of tech. Leveraging meeting scheduling software to set the meeting at the right time with the right people makes a world of a difference.

Coordinating meetings at the “right time” also means reaching the perfect balance between scheduling too many and not enough meetings. This involves identifying which discussions require scheduling time on your team’s calendar, and which can be handled asynchronously. Get into the habit of using tools such as Slack for quick back-and-forth communication, and Asana for short project status updates. Your meeting attendees will never again think, “Did this really need to be a meeting?”

Engineered With a Clear Goal

If your meetings aren’t backed by defined goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Smart meeting attendings convene for the purpose of working towards a common objective. Meetings that don’t accelerate teams towards their goals must be reengineered. 

Use a meeting agenda as your roadmap for attaining your goals. Instead of structuring your agenda as just bullets and bullets of discussion topics, create an agenda that includes specific questions instead. A meeting structured on topics opens the door to irrelevant conversations that only partly pertain to the most pressing issues. However, if you start your meetings with questions, attendees acutely understand what they need to resolve and accomplish.

Every attendee should leave your meetings with a crystal clear understanding of their next steps. For an added layer of clarity and accountability, record the discussed action items in your meeting notes or log them into a project management software.

Deliver Smart Meetings Every Time

Meetings aren’t the enemy, and the solution certainly isn’t to get rid of your meetings. You just need to make them smarter—and luckily, you don’t need to do it alone. GoodTime is here to help.

The GoodTime Meeting Optimization Engine automates scheduling, ensures the right people are in the room, and provides actionable insights to meet smarter. From interviews, to sales calls, to customer meetings, you’ll hit your goals faster than ever before.

Ready to say good-bye to dumb meetings? Learn more about GoodTime today.

About the Author

Rachel Heller

Rachel is passionate about creating and distributing powerful, engaging, and expert-vetted content. As the former Content Specialist at GoodTime, she covered the latest trends, insights, and expert recommendations for all things talent acquisition and recruiting.