By Dale Isip

Depending on your experience at work, you might have very different thoughts about meetings. Some people view meetings as positive opportunities to sort out office issues, while others see meetings as unproductive functions that take up too much of their time at work. It might not be surprising that the latter view is very common — with some 67 percent of American workers believing that too much time at meetings prevents them from being more productive at work.  So how do you, as an employee, make the most out of your business meetings? Here are some tips to help you make sure that your time in meetings is spent in the best way possible.

Know What the Meeting Is About

A good meeting should have an objective. It should, at the very least, have a purpose that addresses current issues of the job. Before you attend your next meeting, know what the meeting is about and what topics are to be addressed. If you do not know before you go, be sure to ask the meeting organizer or your manager.

Formulate Questions

Next, develop relevant questions. Think of more specific questions by thinking a little beyond the original purpose of the meeting. For example, if your office is announcing a transition to new computer software, you could ask about how this will affect the company’s current cloud storage procedures. Come into a meeting with at least three on-topic questions, and you will make the most of the minutes you spend there.

Make Your Co-Workers Issues Your Own

Once at the meeting, it is important to listen to your co-workers’ issues and concerns. If this sounds like a chore, remember why you are at a meeting in the first place – to hear from other people. This is absolutely the reason why listening to your co-workers is a must.

Try to use active listening skills – being solely engaged with the speaker, being ready to offer feedback when asked, and asking clarifying questions. Use active listening and an attitude geared to improving everyone’s conditions at work – and you will be ready for the next step, creating an action plan.

Develop and Deliver an Action Plan

As a group, try to develop an action plan for the current issue by the end of the meeting. If there is no plan, there will likely be no improvements in the workplace, and what could come out of an otherwise great meeting will have been lost. However, if there is a plan, the entire company could benefit from its implementation. The most closely impacted employees should be able to develop the details and submit them to management for review.

The Next Meeting

A follow-up meeting might be a good idea to get everyone on-board with any new practices. In this way, further feedback can be given, and adjustments can be made. With all this in mind, by coming prepared, ready to listen, asking questions, and developing solutions, you can make the most of your next business meeting.