Too many meetings, too little time. When the true cost of holding just one meeting is accurately calculated, it should provide sufficient motivation for us to want to ensure that all of our meetings are meaningful, necessary and can be justified.
I am sure you have heard the one about meetings?
"Are you lonely?
- Work on your own?
- Hate having to make decisions?
- Rather talk about it than do it?
Well, why not hold a meeting?
- You get to see other people
- You can sleep in peace
- Offload decisions
- Learn to write volumes of meaningless rhetoric
- Feel important
- Impress (or bore) your colleagues
And all in work time!"
But of course, it doesn't have to be like that.
Are Meetings A Waste Of Time?
Why they cause frustration
Too many of them
No real purpose
Platform for the talkative
Few decisions come out of them
Make straightforward issues complicated
Often slow things down
Run properly they can be an effective means of:
Communication to a group
Meeting people face-to-face
Improving the quality of decisions
Getting to know people
Drawing from a variety of different experiences
The following figures are based on a working year of 288 days, with one working day equal to 7 hours. (I wish!) You begin to realise the true cost of holding a meeting.
Salary Per Annum: £40.000
One Hour Meeting: £24
One Day Meeting: £168
Salary Per Annum: £60.000
One Hour Meeting: £36
One Day Meeting: £252
Salary Per Annum: £80.000
One Hour Meeting: £48
One Day Meeting: £336
Salary Per Annum: £100.000
One Hour Meeting: £60
One Day Meeting: £420
Some Tips To Ensure A Successful Meeting:
Only hold meetings if they are really necessary
Could people be told any other way?
Consider the cost; meetings are expensive time away from job, salaries of those attending.
If they are needed, then plan for them
What do you want to achieve?
What are you going to discuss?
What decisions will need to be made/actions taken?
Who needs to be there? How are you going to tell them what it's about and why they are invited?
How long can you allocate to the meeting?
Remember, if you fail to prepare, then prepare for your meeting to fail.
Prepare an agenda
Include only relevant items
Put them in order of importance
Decide who will lead the input on each
Allocate time for each item (don't forget to allow for a 5 minute break at least once an hour)
What could go wrong and what will you do?
Collect all information
If it's lengthy, summarise it, outlining key points
Send out agendas and key points in advance
Prepare the room
Ensure that there are sufficient tables and charts
If you want equipment (eg: flip charts, PCs overhead projectors) make sure it is available and working
And Finally: Running The Meeting:
Achieve faster, more efficient results by:
Telling everyone the purpose
Setting the scene for each item, eg: open discussion by inviting specific contributions from those present
Letting everyone who has something to say make a contribution
Summarising what's been said
Watching for signs of non-participation
Sticking to time (always start on time and don't be afraid to finish early)
Agreeing actions to follow
Not being afraid to critique the meeting, i.e.: Was it worth it?
After the meeting:
Circulating minutes promptly to those attending and interested parties
Monitoring and reviewing progress of any actions decided
End Result? A Successful Meeting And All In Work Time!
Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved