HR Tips: 4 Tips to Ensure Effective Meetings
Before I ever put a jacket suit on and plunged myself into the professional world, I was warned by a professor in a Business Communication course when on the subject of meetings. She claimed—or accurately stated—that one of the most annoying and large chunks of your “work” time is consumed by so-called meetings. She said a meeting room is a place where everyone gathers up, talks about something that is supposed to achieve something but doesn’t, and then leaves without anything really accomplished.
A funny and shocking statistic presented by meetingking.com gives support to this fact by noting that “37% of employee time spent on meetings and that 25%-50% of meeting time is ‘wasted’”.
So, is it possible to conduct and effective meeting? Well, why not? As a manager it your responsibility to master brevity, productivity, and attainment in meetings and there are several ways you can do this.
- Consider Why You are Meeting: First of all, you need to ask yourself if and why the meeting is taking place. What do you intend to discuss and accomplish? Are those goals something you can accomplish through other means or methods that are far less costly, quick, and efficient? Many times, managers fail to realize that a meeting is totally unnecessary. To discuss and elaborate on a matter that entails employee feedback, emailing or newsletters are sufficient. Be mindful of this statistic: “The US alone enjoys 1 million formal business meetings each day and wastes $37 Billion in unnecessary meetings every year.”So -- is the meeting utterly necessary?
- Decide on the Objectives: If you have decided what needs to be accomplished can only be done through a meeting, the next step is to develop a list of objectives. Clearly, this should be more than one to maximize benefits with respect to costs. Write down phrases that capture what you want to achieve. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, “By the end of the meeting, I want to make sure everyone understands why we needed the new software installed”. Or,”By the end of the meeting I want to make sure sales persons have learned several new techniques on managing relationships with customers including…”
Once you have your objective set, you can create an agenda. The meeting agenda is necessary if you want to make sure the meeting is an effective one. Not only will the agenda allow you to visualize what needs to be accomplished before end time, but also let the attendees follow the course of plan and stay focused.
- Always have Action Items: You know you have accomplished something in the meeting when you are able to throw in action items. “Action items” are basically possible courses of action that employee can take to fulfill the purpose of the meeting. With something to act upon, employees would know exactly what to do and how to contribute when they leave the meeting room. In the example above where you explained a new technique on dealing with customers, you could tell them to “act on” or apply two of those techniques in the following month and give feedback on how well it worked out for them.
- Give Your Meeting a Score: Review and rate the effectiveness of you meeting before completion. A good way to practice this is to ask the attendees only five minutes before the meeting ends. Their answer can include possible flaws in the current meeting, remarks on what worked well, and suggestions for future meetings. If possible, pass out a short questionnaire and ask them to give it a score based on several factors (i.e. length, content, actionable items, speaker expertise, etc). With the help of a written survey you are likely to receive more direct and honest answers coming from every attendee.
Eilidh Edgar is a career consultant at coursework geek, mainly specializing in developing next gen leaders and entrepreneurs. She also loves to blog about the changing trends and methods in the online business industry.