Make Meetings Matter

Don't you hate long meetings? Everyone wants to meet about something. Sometimes we even have meetings that are scheduled each week whether or not there is anything to meet about.

Some organisations have thought about the amount of wasted time spent in meetings and they now hold their meetings standing up. A great idea for many reasons - better for your health, no one wants to stand up for too long, we think better on our feet (hence the adage), and meetings are shorter.

Here are some additional tips on making meetings more effective;

  • One person in charge - That person keeps the meeting on task and to time.
  • Start on time - Don't wait for stragglers, they will soon learn to get there on time or be embarrassed at being late.
  • Distractions - Phones off, blinds down, no laptops (some will tell you that this is the way that they take notes. No they don't, that's what the minutes are for).
  • Start with the small stuff - To get people warmed up and comfortable with the fast pace, start with your small items first.
  • Don't go back - Just like your emails, read it and do something about it immediately. Going back over something means that you have to read it all again.
  • Make a decision - Meetings are about making decisions, so make one. If you need more information, assign an action point and get the information out immediately after the meeting then make a decision using your Outlook voting button.
  • Minutes - Send out the minutes as soon as they are typed, which again is immediately after the meeting. Don't leave it until the next day because people will have moved on to other things and they will need to waste valuable time recalling what the discussion was about.
  • Action points - Assign a name to each AP and a timeline for completion. 
  • Finish on time - Humans are clock watchers. If you go into overtime the attendees will be more worried about the time than they will about the topic. 

If you are an attendee at a meeting;

  • Be on time.
  • Come prepared having read the agenda.
  • Make notes of questions that you want answered.
  • Keep your questions short.
  • If you have nothing to say, say nothing. 
  • Respect other peoples opinion.
  • Don't go off track, focus.

The next time that you are in a meeting, make a note of how much time is spent on the agenda and how much is wasted on other things. Then add up the salaries of those in the meeting. You will be surprised at how much it costs talking about what everyone did in the weekend! 

There are very few times in our day when we need to strictly adhere to rules, meetings are one of them.