Article

Oper­a­tional Excellence

Design­ing meet­ings so that they don’t suck

December 20, 2019

Many of us see meet­ings as the bane of our lives as they can dom­i­nate our time at work. How many times have you heard peo­ple com­plain­ing that they’re so busy with meet­ings that they’re strug­gling to get their work done?

While meet­ings are nec­es­sary to reach agree­ment on impor­tant points, to hold teams to account and to dis­cuss and resolve spe­cif­ic issues, they don’t direct­ly meet the goals of an organ­i­sa­tion. They are a means to an end.

Research car­ried out in the US has found that 37% of employ­ees’ time is spent in meet­ings, and busy pro­fes­sion­als can attend more than 60 meet­ings per month.

To get an idea of the time meet­ings actu­al­ly take up, try mul­ti­ply­ing the length of each meet­ing by the num­ber of atten­dees. An hour-long meet­ing with eight peo­ple is equiv­a­lent to a full day’s work for one per­son. And of course meet­ings often involve sev­er­al senior indi­vid­u­als with­in an organ­i­sa­tion. This under­lines the impor­tance of mak­ing sure ses­sions are as short as pos­si­ble and focused on achiev­ing the desired results.

Here are a few tricks to help make your meet­ings more effec­tive, more pro­duc­tive and less time-consuming:

1. Before sched­ul­ing a meet­ing, ask your­self whether it’s real­ly nec­es­sary. Some­times we arrange meet­ings out of habit, when a con­ver­sa­tion by email or over the phone may actu­al­ly be a just as effec­tive and take up much less time.

2. If the meet­ing is impor­tant, make sure all the atten­dees are pre­pared. They should all have seen the rel­e­vant KPIs and met­rics and be ready to dis­cuss their thoughts and suggestions.

3. Meet­ings often go on too long because the dis­cus­sion goes off track. A handy way to pre­vent this is to use a sec­tioned off area of a white­board or flipchart to cap­ture any ideas that you don’t want to lose but which are not direct­ly rel­e­vant to the dis­cus­sion at hand.

4. Meet­ings should moti­vate and inspire the peo­ple who will be imple­ment­ing the plans and actions agreed dur­ing the ses­sion. Try to keep the atmos­phere pos­i­tive. Show enthu­si­asm, cel­e­brate good ideas and con­tri­bu­tions and keep things upbeat. It’s OK for meet­ings to be fun!

5. Final­ly, when clos­ing, sum­marise the issues where agree­ment has been reached, the deci­sions made, the actions that need to be com­plet­ed and who will be respon­si­ble for them. This will ensure every­one leaves feel­ing con­fi­dent that the meet­ing was a success.

At Renoir we use a scor­ing tool to mea­sure and track the effec­tive­ness of meet­ings. This helps us pro­vide clients with spe­cif­ic guid­ance to make their meet­ings more pro­duc­tive, free­ing up their senior staff to spend more of their time and ener­gy on the core busi­ness of the organisation.

If you think this could ben­e­fit your organ­i­sa­tion, please get in touch to find out more and dis­cuss your needs.

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