In my opinion, “time-wasting” should be branded as the 8th Deadly Sin. We’ve all been in a meeting that was less than organized, that devolved into a tangent-fest, or that didn’t start on time (or worse, end on time). But how do you ensure that YOUR meetings will avoid this transgression and accomplish goals efficiently and effectively?
Recruiter Daily (along with the help of a business coach) has come ...
to ensure that it’s a good use of everyone’s time:
-Determine what the purpose of the meeting is. "Don't have a sales meeting just because all the books tell you to have one. Have a clear direction of what you want to achieve out of the meeting, for example more sales activity, better-engaged staff, more accountability, an inspired or motivated team, or to bring back fun."
-Invite only the relevant people to achieve your purpose, and make sure they attend.
-Determine how you are going to achieve your purpose. "If you want more sales activity, get a sales expert or coach in to speak to your team. You don't need to be responsible for 'how' your purpose is achieved, only for ensuring that it happens."
-Engage everybody. Aside from sending out an agenda and asking for input and ideas, one way to get everyone involved and engaged is to have team members chair the meetings on a rotational basis, regardless of their position in your company hierarchy, Robertson says.
"Have a mini session with them beforehand to determine the purpose and the 'how'. Make the chairperson fully responsible. You are training them in leadership skills; they will be engaged as they will not be able to 'switch off'. Other team members will participate and be supportive so they can receive support in return when they have to chair the meeting."
-Avoid going over time. "Have a set time and agenda for the meeting and stick to it. In fact, have a time for each agenda item - for example if each team member is to update others on their activities, give them two minutes each and if they go over time simply ask them to stop speaking. Get a stopwatch and get someone in the team to be time keeper. Rotate this job as well.
"Doing this will train your team members in valuable speaking skills, which will help them with sales, presentations and leadership. If people waffle, it's usually because they are ill prepared and haven't thought about their message or the delivery of it."
-Cater for the different learning and communication styles of your team members. "Some people will be visionary (eagle view) who will need the small steps of 'how' to achieve the purpose. The visionary get the big picture, but will need to have the nitty gritty explained to them.
"Other people will be linear (mouse view) and process driven. They need the bigger picture, so tell stories to engage them. They need to know how they fit into the bigger vision."
-Have an unconventional starting time - "instead of having a meeting from 8:30-9:30 have it from 8:38-9:36. Companies who do this report that people are never late as they are more acutely aware of time."
-Make them stand. "If you want to have a quick meeting or your team is stuck for ideas, get them to stand. This will encourage more urgent thought and participation."
My personal favorite is “Invite only relevant people.” So many meetings turn out to be discussions that could easily take place at a different time, to the frustration of others in the room. On the flip side, it’s crucial to attend meetings that DO concern you. You may only get one chance to voice your opinion on a certain issue, so make that time count.
I’m not so sure about unconventional starting times and forcing participants to stand. Are these tactics really effective? I have a sneaking suspicion that setting a meeting for 9:36 around the CATS Software
office would be met with no small amount of ridicule.
Is there anything you would want to contribute or remove from this list?