We have all been in those meetings where you walk out wondering whether you will ever get that hour of your life back.
There have been those meetings where you have to attend because it is a weekly thing and nine weeks out of ten it is a waste of time for all involved.
Which brings me on to the first essential – is the meeting actually necessary? Could this conversation be had via a group email which will reduce time across departments?
How much time is it worth? Having someone at a meeting from five different departments for an hour is worth five hours of the company time. Is this get together actually worth it?
Will the meeting run to time? The age old phrase time is money really does apply – going over by even a few minutes could be costly, it could be the difference between someone missing a phone call for business or even missing a train to meet a client. Allocate enough time for your meeting to be worthwhile.
Ensure that meetings are planned ahead with definitive ideas of who is attending. There has to be a clear agenda with the appropriate papers being circulated beforehand so everybody has the correct information.
On the agenda, allocate time for each item. This is where you have to do your best David Dimbleby and once the allocated time for a certain item has finished you have to move on.
As the manager, you have to delegate to the person in the meeting taking the minutes that they are concise and action orientated. There have been meetings I have been in where the minutes are like trying to solve a riddle – make sure the minutes are clear so there is clarity of outcomes that is shared by all.
Once every couple of months it is useful to review meetings to measure their effectiveness. Is the company benefitting from these meetings? Is it making teams work together more cohesively? Are these meetings cost effective?
We have all been in those meetings where you listen to a person rant and moan for a set period of time – it is key as a manager to have the focus on the positive. Instead of your workforce trudging out of a meeting, they should be like caged animals raring to get back to work.
And finally, make sure you are a successful referee. The biased referee always gets booed off the pitch by the spectators – make sure you get the standing ovation by making sure everyone has their say and make sure everything runs to time.
Just having a quick review of how you approach and manage your meetings can save your company time and money and actually make them more effective. Just having a quick sit down and seeing where you can improve can be massively beneficial.
Head of Training and Development