Could a robot close turnaround your unproductive meeting?

It's not uncommon to lose an audience during your meeting. Many of us confess to switching our brain to other things. If the topic of discussion doesn't relate to you, you're unlikely to engage. If you feel under pressure to other work commitments and the time in the meeting isn't productive, you may try to make notes or plans for things on your mind.


A BBC journalist canvassed opinions on what people do in meetings, other than pay attention to the discussion. The results were varied: composing haikus, playing meeting bingo, secretly checking social media and dating app updates (even watching catch-up TV), fiddling with jewellery, doodling, or simply nodding off. You can read the full article here.


Could artificial intelligence (AI) make meetings more productive?

Research coming out of the US is fueling investments into technology that could see 'meeting bots' take more than just minutes. If a topic of discussion is stuck on one point, or is being dominated by one participant, AI technology could highlight this and even call the meeting to a close if it's no longer productive.


With irrelevant agenda items a real conduit to people switching off during meetings, AI could tell you when's the best time to join a meeting.

Top tips to improve an unproductive meeting

Business meetings can easily take up several hours of your working day. Time is precious, so we're sharing our top tips on how make your future meetings productive and worth your time.

  1. Have a clear agenda and meeting objectives - publish an agenda when inviting people to your meeting. Your attendees need to know if this meeting will be value for them, and you want them to buy in from the start. Make it clear what they need to prepare in advance as well!

  2. Have an exclusive timekeeper - if you're leading the meeting and another is taking minutes, have a separate person as timekeeper so that discussion areas don't overrun. Bring a stop watch, or as a back up use the timer on your phone.

  3. Think about how much time you really need - we're guilty of filling the amount of meeting time we've allocated. Book a meeting for the length of time of actually need (even if it may look odd in your calendar). Additionally, evaluate any recurring meetings you have in your diary. Do you really need them? Would it be better to book as required?

  4. Unplug the technology - put aside laptops and mobiles so you can truly disconnect. Give the meeting and it's organisers the focus it deserves. Presenters can be put off by seeing attendees scrolling through their phones and disengaged.

  5. Record and publish points and actions - having a dedicated person to capture key points of the meeting and follow up actions will help to make progression outside of the meeting. Accountability is essential if you want to prevent follow up meetings being a repeat of the discussion points. Publishing meeting minutes allows those who couldn't attend to catch up, and puts everyone on the same page.

Skills workshops from HJS Human Resources

If you feel your team could gain from additional training or support, our team of HR experts and qualified training courses could be the answer.

We have a wide range of training to help with presentation skills, delivering effective appraisals, developing time management skills - you can view them all here.

Get in touch with HJS Human Resources today for more information or to discuss your business - 0808 1644 222.

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