How to Make Meetings Matter By Lyndsey Scofield, Principal Consultant
In 2019, poorly organized meetings cost U.S. businesses $399 billion. And even as 2020 found many of us changing our work practices and conducting meetings online rather than face-to-face, workplaces are still struggling with the same inefficiencies that plagued in-person meetings before.
If you feel that majority of the meetings you attend are not purposeful, efficient, or a valuable use of your time, then you're in good company: Some 47% of employees complain that meetings waste their time the most at work.
The good news is that transforming into an organization that holds meetings that matter is very much within your grasp. Read on for a few of our quick tips that you can implement right away to start improving the quality of your meetings.
Our Quick Tips for a Successful Meeting:
Starting and ending on time shows discipline and saves everyone time. One study showed that the average Senior Executive loses nearly 6 days annually just waiting for meetings to start! The meeting culture at our organization is that on-time is late — when the meeting starts without you, you learn quickly to plan for an on-time arrival.
The key to ending on time is following a pre-set agenda and establishing a timekeeper to ensure each section keeps on track for the allotted time. We'll share in future post about the importance of setting purposeful agendas for various types of meetings.
In the age of virtual meetings, we find that a cameras-on culture is conducive to team building, collaboration, and attentiveness. I'm sure we've all been on a conference call where the other participants aren't giving much feedback and the long pauses seem to last forever. With video, you can see whether heads are nodding, whether attendees are deeply contemplating the answer to a question, and other nonverbal cues that communicate so much.
Finally, what occurs after the meeting is often more important than what happens during the meeting. That's why distributing action items and follow-ups makes our list. We've seen many organizations fall into the trap of having the same meeting over and over, with no ownership of advancing the ball. If something needs to happen to make progress on a topic, ensure there's an owner and expectation of when it should occur. BONUS TIP: Be sure to revisit the status of past action items in your next meeting so that they actually get done.
Adopting a practice of meetings that matter requires an understanding of what makes them break down — and a commitment to sticking to certain parameters that will bring them back under control.
If you're interested in having your organization delve deeper into the topic of Meetings That Matter, reach out to us to inquire about a free Assessment Survey.