We spend much of our lives at work, more than we do with our families and much of the time we spend at work is in meetings. Yet most executives admit that many of their meetings are not effective and seen as time mis-spent.
Often the reason meetings are ineffective is their lack of clear purpose and they don’t produce effective decisions. So to help you change the course of your meetings and save all that wasted time here are our 6 top tips for you to implement…
1.Separate Operations from Strategy:
Often meeting lose effectiveness as they overlap operational decisions with strategic ones. The two should never overlap each other – Think about the number of times the meeting plan is to cover a few operational agenda points, followed by some key strategic discussion, only for the operational debate to roll on well past the designated time and infringe on the strategy planning session – which ends up being rolled into next month’s meeting! If you need to discuss strategy, (and you do) keep operations off the agenda and give the team space to discuss the key points without the meeting being hijacked.
2. Distribute reading material before the meeting:
If there is a proposal or other material to be discussed send it our in advance so the team can read it. Make sure whatever you send is clearly labelled – Is for discussion, decision making or just for information? Doing this will save crucial time in the meeting itself and allow for more action focused discussion, rather than simple wasting time reviewing and running through the material.
3. Create a decision led agenda:
Build the meeting agenda around the top 10 opportunities or challenges that need discussion. Ensure the team have a chance to flag the key decisions they need to discuss but build the agenda based on the most important ones and use a constant scale – maybe revenue impact – to ensure fair ranking.
4. Provide a clear timetable:
Simple but often overlooked. Most meetings have an agenda but few have clear times for each element – Also ensure someone in the team is given the role of timekeeper.
5. Always create 3 viable options:
If the meeting is decision led then avoid “group-think” by ensuring every decision made as 3 viable options and they are discussed fully.
6. Agree a clear timetable to follow-up:
Actions and minutes should be captured but each action needs a clear timeframe. Don’t allow actions to leave the meeting without an owner and a defined deadline – even if its just a time by which an update on the action needs to provided.