Planning an event means coordinating with a ton of different people. You need to work with a wide range of contributors — whether it’s your internal team or external groups like vendors, speakers, or sponsors. It’s critical to get everyone on the same page if you want to run a smooth event.

Meetings will almost always be necessary to plan your event, but unfortunately, they’re not always a productive use of your time. If you’ve ever shown up at the table just to talk in circles for an hour, you know the pain of poorly planned meeting. In fact, in a recent survey, 25% of event organizers cited meetings as the biggest barrier to productivity in their day-to-day life.

To help you make meetings worth your precious time, we tapped the productivity experts at Asana. Here are five tips for planning a meeting that’s worth your time:

  1. Keep it short. There are exceptions for more complex or strategic planning sessions, but typically you shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes to accomplish your goal. Plan your agenda to start with topics that involve the whole group, and let people leave once they’ve said (or heard) their piece.
  2. Create an air-tight agenda. Before every meeting, take time to consider the goal of the session. Do you want to leave the meeting with a decision on a certain issue? A list of action items for your team? Consider this goal as you build your agenda, allocating specific amounts of time to cover each topic. Share the agenda with all attendees prior to your meeting so they have time to review and prepare to speak to any relevant areas. Make sure to include an objective, so everyone knows why they should be there.
  3. Stick to it. Follow your agenda closely during your meeting, timing each section so you know when it’s time to move onto the next. While discussing each topic, have a dedicated note taker jot down any action items or open questions at the bottom of your doc. End each meeting with clear next steps for every team member.
  4. Follow up with action items. As soon as the meeting has ended, send out action items to everyone who was in the room. You can do this on an email thread, or whatever platform you use to streamline communication. Include a name (and ideally a date) next to each item so everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for.
  5. Start RSVPing “no.” Turn down meetings that have no agenda or objective. If the meeting organizer hasn’t bothered to plan for the meeting, why should you waste your time while they figure it out?

If you use Asana, you can create projects for meeting agendas. These project flows allow you to assign tasks to each discussion topic, review and prioritize discussion items as a team prior to the meeting, and easily assign next steps to keep everyone on track and aligned.For more expert advice on becoming a more productive event organizer, check out this ultimate guide produced in partnership with Asana.

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