Poorly planned meetings lead to the loss of precious time and resources.
Pointless meetings will cost companies in the US $399 billion by the end of 2019.
Over 25 million business meetings occur in the country every single day and 15 percent of an organisation’s collective time is spent on them.
According to executives, 67 percent of these meetings are unproductive and the lack of planning/structure are quoted as common contributing factors.
Effective meeting management is one of the primary ways to help increase productivity.
There are well-established practices that can reduce the waste of time, encourage the exchange of ideas and give company meetings a more strategic direction.
When such practices are put in place, they can easily boost both engagement and productivity.
Practices to Eliminate Distractions
A business meeting can easily get side-tracked.
While important issues aren’t being discussed, time is being wasted effectively.
When meeting management is employed, an agenda is created prior to the session.
The aim of the agenda is to help everyone stay on track and stick to topics of relevance.
Good agendas feature step-by-step details for meeting execution.
Specific time is allotted to the discussion of all items, brainstorming, follow-up question sessions.
The inclusion of multiple details and making sure everyone gets the agenda in advance will both be essential for an organised, concise and productive meeting.
Even if some details appear obvious, their inclusion in the agenda isn’t obsolete.
By featuring lots of details, managers can make sure everyone is on the same page.
It’s also important to follow through with the agenda during the meeting itself.
A general rule of thumb is that the elimination of a specific item is permissible, while adding new items to the agenda is not.
Move Away from a Meeting-Centric Culture
The depth of the meeting problem is massive in some organisations.
In such instances, it will be essential to step back and get a good idea about the scope of the issue.
Once you’re aware of the wasteful practices, you can begin pinpointing effective solutions.
If you cannot handle the process on your own, employing professionals to assist with meeting facilitation could be a sound approach.
Shifting away from a meeting-centric culture saves time and adds value to the gatherings that actually take place.
It’s important to make managers and employees question the value of the meetings they’re going to attend.
Every individual participating in meeting management can help for the transition.
When meeting management practices are put in place, several important questions are asked before a gathering is scheduled to take place:
- What is the strategic value of the meeting?
- What will the return on investment be if you attend?
- What will every individual get for the time and the energy they put in the meeting?
- What type of work will they have to postpone in order to attend?
- Will the presence of a specific person contribute to the value of the meeting?
- Will something new be examined or will the meeting just be a rehash of previous sessions?
Meeting management focuses on all of these essentials to actually evaluate the value of a scheduled company event.
Within the company, it should also be clear that individuals have the right to decline meeting attendance if they don’t believe that their presence is going to contribute anything meaningful to the gathering.
Having this right can empower individual employees and lead to much higher engagement, regardless of the fact that people will not be attending all scheduled meetings.
Shifting Overall Perceptions
It’s possible to shift the overall corporate perception of meetings through the selection of the right management practices.
In most organisations, meetings are viewed as a necessary evil.
A Harvard Business Review survey shows that 65 percent of senior managers say that meetings are keeping them away from doing their job.
71 percent believe meetings are unproductive and 62 percent believe that meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
Other statistics show that over 46 percent of employed Americans would engage in any kind of unpleasant activity rather than attend a business meeting.
This mindset in itself is contributing to the lack of effectiveness and productivity during corporate gatherings.
Giving people the power to decline irrelevant meetings can quickly contribute to a shift in perception.
In addition, managers should also emphasise that meetings are communication opportunities rather than boring chores.
They should be viewed as the way to solve problems rather than a distraction that prevents employees from doing their job.
Meeting management practices can accomplish all of these tasks over time, especially if a shift in corporate culture is the strategic intent of such efforts.
Enabling a Flexible Approach
Through the right practices, it’s possible to tailor meetings to the specific needs of the organization.
Who says that meetings have to take place in a rigid environment, every Monday, for at least one hour?
Some companies are making the shift to much more flexible formats.
A walking meeting is one example.
Walking meetings give people a bit of time to stretch their limbs, get outside and recharge their batteries.
These are an ideal choice for a morning cup of coffee that leaves participants feeling refreshed and energized.
Some companies have gotten rid of status update meetings because these are considered obsolete and the information can be communicated in other ways.
Some have introduced small meetings that are thematic and that limit the number of participants for added productivity of the discussion.
Meeting management encourages diversions from standard formats and timeframes.
It focuses on niche meetings that involve fewer people, necessitate less time and give a better outcome than a general meeting lacking clear purpose.
These are just some of the ways in which meeting management practices boost productivity.
They keep the conversation moving, they eliminate weaknesses and introduce new elements on the go.
The ultimate outcome is increased engagement, a positive view of meetings and a more willing to communicate team that’s ready to exchange ideas and identify new solutions.