Top Tips On Having Effective Meetings

We strive for organisational efficiencies but we don’t think twice about inviting 10 colleagues to a three hour meeting on a Tuesday afternoon because that’s just how efficient business are run, is it not ?

We’ve all felt the pain of attempting to organise that crucial meeting and trying to find that elusive hour in everyone’s diaries and either giving up or booking over somebody else’s carefully arranged meeting.

How about the uncomfortable wait outside a meeting room with your colleagues eager to start but the previous meeting is overrunning and eating into your valuable slot.

Have you considered the cost of holding a meeting ?.  A 1 hour meeting for 10 people, when considering the setup time, the preparation time for the attendees and the documentation of the outputs could easily equate to 20-30 hours of time (yes that’s almost a weeks effort!).  Now scale that up across the organisation and you can quickly understand how they can affect the bottom line.

Yes, meetings are the scourge of business efficiency but we are forced to play the game.  Well, actually we don’t but we do need to make a few simple changes which can ripple through your organization quicker than the rumour of free donuts on the 2nd floor.

  •   DON’T book a meeting if it can be avoided.  There are other forms of communication which fit in better to a colleagues working patterns which don’t require physical attendance at a particular time.
  •   DON’T book a regular meeting slot.    A few of these rapidly fill your working week with little time left for the real work.
  •   DON’T allow representatives to attend a meeting on behalf of a decision maker UNLESS they have full delegated authority to make that all important decision.  These delay the decision, waste time and resource.  Don’t invite people along just because they may find the meeting interesting.
  •   DON’T use the meeting to drive out options.  These can be done prior to the meeting to enable the focus to be on agreeing the decision.
  •   DON’T have long meetings.  If you book a 3 hour meeting to agree a decision, it will take 3 hours, the same decision is likely to be achieved in 30 minutes with good preparation.
  •   DON’T expect the attendees to come to a meeting ill-prepared.  Give them the information they need in good time prior to the meeting and an explanation of what is expected of them.  Prior knowledge means greater focus and preparation.
  •   DON’T waste time on late attendees.  If they arrive late then either exclude them from the discussion or exclude them from the decision.
  •   DON’T let the meeting overrun and keep to an agreed schedule.  Ensure the meeting completes before the allotted end point, this will allow your colleagues to get to their next appointment on time, and also ensure the next meeting can start on-time (don’t be the cause of another meeting starting late!).
  •   DON’T have Any Other Business (AOB) as an Agenda item.  AOB by virtue is an unplanned event, it is unfair to expect attendees to give meaningful and well founded responses to side-winders at the end of an otherwise well structured meeting.


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