The key is to have short, effective meetings, and only have necessary meetings. It also helps to follow some pointers – if you’re tired of wasted meetings, try these following hints! Meetings are never an event you look forward to. Particularly if they’re on a Monday morning. While they are often necessary, they aren’t always efficient. Often, it’s time that is spent away from production, away from developing your company.
Before the Meeting
First thing first: can the meeting be summed up in an e-mail? All too often, meetings are informational, and could be wrapped up in an e-mail or phone call. Even collaborative meetings could be done through mail groups and group messaging. If your meeting doesn’t need bodies in a room, don’t call it!
Define the outcome. Is this a weekly sales meeting, where you set goals and coordinate teams? Is it a director’s meeting, where you look at business targets? Is it a development meeting, where you are looking to help people understand the business further? If you can’t concisely state an outcome of the meeting, it might not be worth having.
Next step – who needs to be at the meeting? Only invite those who are vital for the meeting. Too few, and you might not have the input you need. However, inviting too many is even worse, as it comes across like CC’ing the entire company when only certain people need to be included. It’s clutter. And it causes people to tune out. If you can’t provide a reason why a person needs to be present, don’t invite them.
Make a schedule for your meeting, and send it to the team ahead of time. This allows everyone to prepare properly, come up with questions before hand, and keep the meeting rolling. Don’t be afraid to add time constraint to the agenda either, setting limits on how long each subject can be covered. This will push contributors to be concise.
Be prepared. Being under-prepared is sloppy, and can leave employees more confused upon leaving the meeting than they were prior to the meeting. Being over-prepared is nearly as bad – it doesn’t allow room for discussion, and makes the meeting one-sided. Find the line, and walk it.
Don’t rely too much on audio and visual – it’ll let you down. No one likes when the meeting is centered around video or PowerPoint, and it won’t open or is glitchy. If you do need to use audio and visual components, make sure you get to the meeting room early, set them up, and test them before anyone else shows up. Or, even better, schedule IT to help you – that’s what they’re there for!
During the Meeting
Start on time, end on time. When you set the meeting for 10 in the morning, start it at 10 in the morning. Your teammates and employees should understand that this is the start time, not the “start walking from your office” time. This will help get the meeting moving, and keep you on pace to hit the targeted end time.
Keep on track! Have someone in charge who will push to the next subject if a certain agenda point has run over time, or continues to be circled without the team moving forward on it. This should be done with the outcome of the meeting – which you determined before the meeting and let everyone know of – in mind.
Keep people on point. Each person should only be talking about what they can affect, or if their input is requested. Production doesn’t need to be concerned with whether or not Sales is closing enough deals. Sales should say what they are doing, and Production should present facts as far as whether or not they can meet those goals, and what is needed to do so. They should only talk about matters that relate to their jobs.
Designate a note taker. Sure, everyone should be taking them, but some won’t. Some might get distract when they have a point to bring up. Some may misconstrue what you say. And asking them to take comprehensive notes may lead to them missing the bigger picture of the meeting. By having a note taker that is there solely to record the meeting, they can keep track of what is said, and send out notes along with relevant slides or document after the meeting has concluded.
For most of us, meetings are a necessity. Some surveys have found that, particularly in middle and upper management, anywhere from 35% to 50% of your week is spent in meetings. By following these ways to stop wasting time in meetings, and avoid wasted meetings as a whole, you can reduce the time you spent in meetings while increasing their effectiveness. This will allow you to concentrate more on building and running your business. So consider revolutionizing the way your company does meetings – you might find your team starts to look at them as less of an intrusion, and as more of a way to improve your business!