‘Vision without implementation is hallucination.’ Meetings are an important tool for bringing your business vision into being. But recent research shows that most employees say they waste more than 30 hours a month in meetings. Nearly 40% admit to falling asleep; more than 70% admit to doing other work; and over 90% admit to daydreaming.
QUESTION: What can you do to keep your own staff out of these statistics?
ANSWER: Make sure every meeting you run has a clear purpose. Find out how.
Meetings – the purpose
It’s a complete waste of time to call people together to brainstorm an issue in the hope that someone will say something helpful. You need a much ‘tighter’ approach to help people focus, and you need to know the outcome you’re looking for and its relationship to your business vision and goals. Do you want the meeting to agree a prioritisation for key projects? Do you want the meeting to reach a shared understanding of a recent industry event? Do you want meeting attendees to get up to date on each other’s activities?
Meetings – the agenda
Once you have a clear purpose, create an agenda that communicates it in plain language. The agenda should clearly state the purpose and expected outcome(s) for the meeting, who you’ll ask for input, in what order, and for how long.
Meetings – the process
Nominate a chairperson, timekeeper and minute taker. Make sure minutes are recorded during the meeting – this saves time later and allows the writer to clarify anything that’s unclear rather than record it inaccurately or need to follow up with people after the meeting. The minutes should record tasks that arise from the discussion, the person responsible for the task, task priority and a due date. Again, decide these things during the meeting to save time later. Allocating responsibility is another opportunity for you to delegate, which has the double benefit of saving yourself time and empowering your staff. A brief review of the minutes from the previous meeting should be on the agenda at every meeting. Without relying on memory, you can then efficiently track progress on tasks and take remedial action where necessary.
You wouldn’t travel without a destination, or pick up the phone without someone to call. So don’t call a meeting without a good reason, a clear agenda, an efficient process and follow-up that counts. Make the effort to improve the way meetings are run in your business. It really is a no brainer.