Granted, I’d rather go to a meeting than have a root canal, but by only a little bit.
To be honest, many organizations don’t do meetings very well.
But sometimes, we do have to have a meeting. So here are some thoughts on how to help build your organization through the effective use of meetings.
- Some Bad things about meetings
The costs of having a meeting are very high. Three of the highest costs are in time, money, and lost production.
1. Time- Many meetings are an incredible waste of what is probably the most valuable asset we have: time. Whenever you are in a meeting think about the time that is being spent. If 10 people meet for one hour that is 10 man-hours invested into that meeting. Did your organization receive more than a full days worth of value from that meeting?
2. Money- Many meetings involve some kind of travel, so meetings can also very expensive.
3. Lost production- All the time spent in meetings is time taken away from staff members who could actually be doing “real” work.
- Some good things about meetings
If you are trying to build a relationship with a new client or trying to unify a team, you can and should have a meeting. Here are some good things about meetings.
1. There are some things that can only be done in a meeting like brainstorming, aligning goals, building relationships, or working through projects where face-to-face dialogue is mandated. For those tasks, meetings are extremely important. Unfortunately, many meetings are held for other reasons.
2. Meetings are a wonderful way to build relationships. They are also a great way to build team unity as the team works through a project together.
So what can we do to make our meetings better?
- Change the way you think about meetings
1. Some of the best meetings are the ones that never take place because they are not needed. Know why you are meeting and cancel it if you don’t have a clear reason to meet that can only be accomplished face-to-face.
2. Don’t have a meeting because it’s Monday at 10 o’clock. Meet only if you need to meet and have a clear goal for the meeting.
3. Don’t overlook the importance of the informal meeting. Sometimes the best meetings happen spontaneously around the water cooler. In fact, some of the most highly inventive companies make time for their employees to have casual meetings every week or every month.
So if you must have a meeting, here are some suggestions for making them successful.
- How to have a good meeting
1. Make the meeting be about action points that must be accomplished. Have action points coming in and going out of the meeting. Make the meeting revolve around those action points.
2. End the meeting with a review of the action points.
3. Don’t go for round numbers. Why meet for an hour? Meet for only 40 minutes if that’s all you need.
4. Only cover things you cannot do via email or phone.
5. Pass out necessary materials 1 day in advance. Not too far ahead, or it might be forgotten, but give everyone enough time to read and prepare.
Maybe meetings are inevitable, but we can make the ones we have lead good ones.
What do you think about meetings and how we can improve them? Please post your ideas and suggestions.