‘Meeting Madness – How to make meetings more effective’
Challenge Whether A Meeting Is Necessary
Don’t just go to meetings out of habit or because you’re invited – only go if you know it’s going to be either really useful to you, or if you’re going to be really useful to others by being there.
The expression ‘time’s money’ is very true when you think of time spent in meetings – they can be very expensive or a great investment.
So, do you really need to be there, all the time?
Would it be possible for one of your direct reports (if you have a team) to represent you?
Is there some other way, perhaps using technology, to cover the information more quickly?
What outputs are expected? If it isn’t clear, with an agenda, why is there a meeting anyway?
And if you do decide to attend, be ‘fully present’ and participate. Continuing to check e-mail or take phone calls is distracting and discourteous to others. If you’re operating both streams in parallel, you’ll probably not be participating fully, and it’s questionable if you’re adding maximum value.
Be ‘On Time’
A prompt start shows you value and respect other people’s time. If you become known for arriving at, and starting the meetings you run, on time, it’ll encourage everybody to be there too. Don’t stop the meeting to bring late comers up to speed.
You may have back to back meetings so a late start or over-running can make you late for your next appointment, disrupting the whole day. If necessary, you may have to leave early to get to your next meeting so make sure the Chair knows this, so your contribution has been made by then.
Be realistic how long it can take to get to the meeting venue – waiting for lifts, walking between buildings, collecting a coffee etc. can introduce surprising delays.
And if it’s a meeting you’re running – set a Finish time too. This helps others to plan their day around it.
A Little Personal Organisation Can Go A Long Way…
For regular meetings (for example, with your team, a particular supplier, a project team) create a file folder for each. Relevant items that crop up between meetings can be added to the file so you remember to raise them or add them to the agenda. This avoids a last minute flurry searching for relevant information – you can just grab the folder and go.
Even a little preparation time will significantly improve your impact, even for an informal 1:1 with your Manager or a Colleague. Demonstrating obvious thought and preparation creates a great impression, speeds up the dialogue and increases the chance of a successful result for you both.
If it’s your meeting, write up the actions agreed (just a simple ‘Who Does What When’ is fine) and circulate with the dates, location and venue of the next meeting quickly. People will know there is no escaping their commitments if it’s recorded and will be reviewed.
Meetings can seem to dominate our working lives, but you can really turn them round to be extremely effective investments of your time, whether you’re there as Chair or Participant.
Copyright 2009 – 2014 Rosie Gray, Mosaic Learning Ltd. All rights reserved
Next post; ‘Choosing The Best Calendar For You’