How to have more productive meetings

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Productive meetings—everyone talks about them, but few really experience them. In today’s fast-paced business environment, time is a scarce resource. You can’t afford to waste it in meetings that don’t deliver results. So, still wondering how to make meetings productive? We’re going to look into the critical elements that make up productive meetings, discuss the pitfalls to avoid, and explore how Prezi can be a game-changer in making your meetings more productive.

Millennial businesswoman addressing colleagues at a corporate business meeting. Group of business colleagues meeting in the boardroom.

Key elements of productive meetings

Clear agenda

One of the cornerstones of productive team meetings is a well-crafted agenda. Without it, you’re essentially sailing a ship without a compass. The agenda should clearly outline the purpose of the meeting, the topics to be covered, and the time allocated for each.

Time management

Punctuality can make or break a meeting. Starting and ending on time not only shows respect for everyone’s schedules but also helps keep the team focused. After all, showing up late to conduct your own meeting isn’t sending out a good message, is it? 

Active participation

A meeting is only as good as its participants. Active engagement from all members ensures that different perspectives are heard, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of issues and quicker decision-making. By creating a presentation that holds engaging content, you’re more likely to get your listeners talking and sharing opinions. 

People in a discussion regarding co presenting.

Concise communication

How many times have you been in a meeting where one person drones on endlessly? Effective communication is essential. Be concise and to the point to keep everyone’s attention.

Actionable takeaways

The meeting should conclude with a summary of what was discussed, decisions made, and action items assigned. This ensures accountability and provides a reference point for future meetings.

What causes meetings to be less productive?

Lack of purpose

We’ve all found ourselves sitting in a conference room, glancing at the clock, and wondering why we’re even there in the first place. The uncomfortable truth is that meetings without a well-defined objective often become a hotbed for aimless chatter. Participants drift from topic to topic without making any tangible progress, and the result is a collective sense of frustration and wasted time. In the absence of a clear agenda or goals, team members can’t prepare adequately, and the opportunity for constructive discussion evaporates. Such gatherings can contribute to an ongoing cycle of unproductivity that can be detrimental to the entire organization.

Businesswoman checking her smartphone at a team meeting.


Contrary to popular belief, more isn’t always better, especially regarding how to make meetings more productive. While it may seem like having more people in the room would lead to more ideas and perspectives, it often has the opposite effect—diluting the focus and making decision-making difficult. When too many individuals are present, the chances of going off-topic increase, as does the time it takes to reach a consensus. Moreover, the more people you have in a meeting, the more difficult it becomes to manage time and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. 

Interruptions and off-topic

Have you ever found yourself in a meeting that starts strong but then suddenly goes off the rails due to unrelated issues? It’s a scenario many of us are familiar with, and it’s a real productivity killer. Interruptions and off-topic conversations not only waste valuable time but also disrupt the meeting’s flow and focus. When discussions veer off course, it becomes challenging to accomplish the objectives set out in the original agenda. 

Absence of follow-up

A meeting isn’t just about what happens in the room; it’s also about what occurs afterward. Without a proper follow-up, even the best-laid plans can fizzle out, rendering the meeting a wasted effort. It’s like cooking a fantastic meal and then forgetting to serve it; all the ingredients are there, but the final, crucial step is missing. Follow-ups are essential for accountability and ensure that the decisions made and tasks assigned during the meeting get executed. They act as a bridge between your meeting’s intentions and real-world outcomes.

How to make meetings more productive with Prezi

Need a hand making your meetings more productive? Consider using Prezi. Here’s how it can help:

Grab their attention by making your presentation more interactive

Engaging presentations

Capturing your audience’s attention is half the battle when it comes to productive meetings, and this is where Prezi shines. With its dynamic, zoomable canvas, Prezi takes presentations to a whole new level of engagement. But it’s not just about the visuals; it’s also about the storytelling. Prezi lets you move smoothly from one idea to the next, making it easy to keep everyone interested. It’s like having a conversation that just flows.

Imagine having a presentation like the following one by NOBL Collective for your next meeting. Instead of flipping through mundane slides, you can instantly grab your audience’s attention and engage them with engaging storytelling elements.

Well-defined structure

An organized presentation is not just a nicety; it’s a prerequisite for a productive meeting. Prezi’s platform excels at helping you structure your thoughts and ideas into a coherent, seamless flow. This goes beyond merely arranging slides linearly. Prezi offers the flexibility to build a multi-dimensional canvas where ideas can be connected in various ways, showing relationships and hierarchies that a simple slide-to-slide transition just can’t capture. 

If you’re wondering how to best structure your presentation, watch the following video:

Interactive elements

With Prezi, the ability to embed videos, charts, and other interactive elements elevates your presentation from static to dynamic. But the benefits go beyond mere visual appeal. These multimedia presentation elements can also serve as supplementary data points or as illustrative examples, allowing you to convey complex information in an easily digestible format. This enriched presentation style encourages active participation and discussion among team members, as they can interact with the content in real time. 

Explore a great multimedia presentation example by Monserrat Molina:

Reusable templates

If you’re struggling with designing your presentation, Prezi’s got you covered. Explore a great selection of ready-to-go meeting templates that make it easy for you to focus on what you really want to say. Just pick one that fits your needs and you’re good to go. Whether you’re pitching a new project or conducting a SWOT analysis, our templates are designed to make your life easier and your presentations more compelling. All you have to do is add in your content, and you’re good to go.

a screenshot of Prezi's meeting template gallery

Tips on how to have productive meetings

Set the ground rules

Before diving into the meeting’s agenda, it’s always a good idea to set the ground rules. This simple step lets everyone know what’s expected of them, from how to take turns speaking to the best ways to contribute. Think of it as laying down the game plan before the match; it helps the team get on the same page and makes everything run a lot more smoothly.

Use a timer

Ever noticed how time can just slip away when you’re deep in discussion? That’s why using a timer can be a game-changer. It’s like having a friendly referee in the room to make sure everyone gets a turn and that all the key points on the agenda get their moment in the spotlight. Just set it for each agenda item and when time’s up, you move on. It’s a simple but super effective way to make sure you’re covering all your bases without getting stuck in endless debates.

A man holding a timer on a digital tablet during a start up business meeting.

Assign a moderator

Conducting a meeting without a moderator can lead to disorganization and inefficiency. This person serves as a guide for the meeting, directing discussions, adhering to the agenda, and ensuring time management. Moderators can help maintain order and focus during the meeting. It’s a straightforward action, but it can greatly improve the productivity and effectiveness of your meetings.

The takeaway

In the world of business, time is money. Knowing how to produce productive meetings is an essential skill that every professional should master. But even the most well-planned meeting can fall flat without engaging content. That’s where Prezi comes in. With its visually appealing, structured, and interactive presentations, Prezi is your go-to tool for making your meetings productive and engaging.

So, next time you’re planning a meeting, make sure to establish a clear agenda, effectively manage time, ensure active participation, use Prezi to create highly engaging and effective presentations, and follow other tips we’ve listed in this article.

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