What is the key to having successful meetings?
Meetings take up a lot of the work-week. No wonder from time time you feel like they actually interrupting your work, instead of motivating and helping. Let’s make a simple math equation. Let’s assume that each one of us spends 4 hours per week on meetings (just 10% of our full work-time) and the company pays average hourly rate of 10€ with taxes, means that company with 25 employees spends 4500€ monthly on having meetings. This means people just discussing and actually doing nothing else.
Most likely we would want to get something in return for this investment. So how to make meetings more efficient. I was listening to an audiobook on this topic recently and would like to share some ideas that could improve the efficiency of meetings.
Keep meetings short
Meetings have a wonderful characteristic of taking up as much time as they are planned in the schedule. Have you been in the meeting where things are discussed and people just start talking about something not so relevant? Or they take detours and not getting to the point? So instead of planning an hour for a meeting, try to get things discussed with 30 minutes. 20 minutes is even better. And you will see the magic happening, that everything still gets discussed.
Not more than 7 persons
If you want to discuss something and get everyone’s input and attention do not have more than 7 persons participating. One would expect that the input each person gives value to the discussion but that is not the fact. People tend to start slacking and not paying attention if the group gets too big. A good example of this is
The agenda needs to come from bottom up
Agendas are good but they do not decide if the meeting is considered a success by the participants. If the meeting agenda comes from the CEO people do not feel this as relevant to them. The agendas of best meetings come from the participants, so everyone has possibility to add topics relevant to them. And of course once they have submitted the topic the own it as well and feel that they need to make it work for the participants. If each week includes the “situation in sales” topic, then the sales team will stop preparing for the meeting but if they submit the topic, they will actually own it and want to present as good as possible.
Everybody’s input is valued?
This is the thing said before meetings. But the fact is that
Do not be late
Can you imagine how much time we lose because of being
It is not a bad thing to drop in a joke or two. Not being too serious helps people to feel at ease and jokes are sometimes good reset for the brain if the mind starts getting bored and wandering around. This does not mean that the meeting has to be like a standup comedy show. Playing light music while people are gathering and dropping a joke in a meeting sets more playful and enjoyable mood.
Have everyone visible
If people do not see each other that is huge distractor. In large phone or audio meetings some people start doing their own things and lose the attention. This is again a reason why meetings might take longer for everyone or do not have the planned outcome. If you were not paying attention do you maybe ask the question that was answered on the next meeting? Or are you sure you will get things done that were discussed? The best is to have all participants in the same room, the best alternative, to this is to have everyone visible through video.
Altogether, meetings are not bad (
If you have any ideas and