10 Ways To Improve Meeting Effectiveness In The Workplace

by Aug 24, 20120 comments

If you are serious about learning how to improve meeting effectiveness in your organization, you are about to discover 10 ways to do so.

With so many conflicts and dysfunctional teams in the workplace, companies are holding more and more meetings. Most managers are managing in panic modes. It seems as though everything is a crisis that requires a meeting. The reality is…

Most meetings in the workplace are boring, unnecessary, and unproductive. A waste of time and money.

According to Business Insider, 11 million meetings are held in the United States every single day. It’s also reported that 91% of the people attending those meetings say they daydream during meetings.

Years ago, when I held a full-time job, I participated in a lot of boring meetings. I called many of them beatings instead of meetings. During these sessions, the manager would take the opportunity to rehash what is wrong.

The reality is, those meetings cost the company. For example, let’s say an employee makes $30 an hour. You would assume that the corporation would lose only $30 by sending that employee to the meeting. Right? Well, that is not correct.

The same employee takes time before and after to get ready for the meeting as well as preparing to start working again. That takes roughly one hour. For those two hours, the company is also losing two hours of productivity.

Let’s say 30 employees in your company are meeting today. That is roughly 60 hours of lost productivity plus the wages. For example, IBM has about 433,362 employees worldwide, and Proctor & Gamble has 135,000 employees. Imagine how many departmental and team meetings they hold every year.

Do the math. The total number of wasted hours and money spent on meetings every single year will stun you. The funny thing is, sometimes companies will call a meeting just to plan for another meeting.

So, how do you, as a manager, make sure that your meetings don’t cost your company? The answer is simple: Have productive meetings that impact their bottom line. How do you do so?

10 Quick Tips On How To Improve Meeting Effectiveness In The Workplace

1. Meet When It’s Necessary

If you have some simple information you want to communicate, share it in an email or internal memo, don’t call a meeting. It’s not necessary to pull away team members from their work when you can quickly send them a memo.

By the way, don’t have a meeting about the next meeting either. It’s a waste of time, productivity, and money. The question to ask yourself is this: “Is this meeting I am calling necessary?”

2. Don’t Wing It

If you are a manager or team leader, never show up at the last minute in a hurry fumbling for what you are going to say at the meeting. That is VERY unprofessional and unproductive. That would communicate a lot about your leadership. There’s a saying that goes, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”

I encourage you not to leave it to chance when it comes to having a productive and effective meeting. You should summarize in one sentence the outcome of your meeting. Simply put, know your goal and objective for the meeting.

When you organize and plan your meeting ahead of time, you feel less stressed and more present at the meeting. You don’t have to run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to make some copies. And, your bosses will think highly of you.

3. Show Up On Time

You should keep in mind that people are busy. They have deadlines to meet. When you schedule your meeting for one hour, make sure you end the meeting in one hour.

The way to do so is to show up on time. Let everyone know in an email that the meeting will start and end on time. Set the example. Be the first one to arrive. Begin and end promptly.

Of course, some people might miss out on some details if they arrive late. Nevertheless, they will know to show up on time at the next meeting.

4. Skip The Small Talk

Get with the agenda immediately. If not, the side conversations will get out of control. Be the moderator. Take charge.

Thank everyone for their time and promptness. Read the meeting’s agenda so the attendees know what to expect.

5. Don’t Be A Super Man Or Woman

I just got off the phone with a meeting planner who’s booking me to speak at her event. I asked about her planning committee. She said, “We don’t have a planning committee. I’m the committee.”

Really? I’m talking about a meeting for 400 attendees. It took months of preparation. Now, it’s either she loves to be in control. Or her organization is pushing the do-with-less nonsense too far.

You must delegate some tasks. Ask others to volunteer. Unless your meeting is for a handful of people, don’t plan it all by yourself.

6. Keep Everyone In The Loop

Don’t leave anyone in the dark guessing the goal of the meeting. Prepare an agenda and pass it around to everyone before the meeting starts. List all the key points you’ll address. Also, list the people responsible to address each topic.

7. Stick To Your List

As the moderator, your job is to maintain order. Have a list fo what you will cover right in front of you. The moment you and your team wrap up a topic or item on your list, check it off and move on to the next one.

8. Hold Your Team Members Accountable

That’s where you can make your meeting pay off. Before you move on to the next topic on your list, make sure someone is accountable for following through. Never proceed to the next item unless someone is going to take the right actions.

If you don’t have actionable steps, your meeting is a waste of time and money. Say something like this, “Bob, since this pertains to your department, can we please count on you to gather a list of potential speakers for review by this coming Thursday?”

9. Be Enthusiastic

Do you remember I mentioned about the boring meetings? Well, your job is to set the tone of the meeting. Be enthusiastic when you show up. Play some upbeat and feel-good music as the attendees arrive. Believe it or not, as the manager or team leader, you set the tone. Speak enthusiastically.

10. Ask For Feedback

Ken Blanchard, the author of Who Moved My Cheese, said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champion.” Find out what you did right and what you can improve.

Ask the participants for their feedback about the meeting. Most of them will tell you it was great. But, probe them for more details. Say, “Thanks for letting me know it was a great meeting. But, if there’s one change you could improve, what would it be?”

In fact, you can use this strategy whenever you want to improve something. However, let me caution you that some people will give you some negative feedback. Don’t focus on them. Move on!

Okay, those ten tips should help you have productive and effective meetings. Once you start applying them, you will develop a great reputation for yourself. Your team members will be more accountable for results.

I would love your feedback on how to improve meeting effectiveness successfully in the workplace. Do you use anything different you would like to share with us?

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