Getting better value from your meetings
13th July 2012 · 0 Comments
“Who called this meeting?” is usually an accusation, not an expression of innocent curiosity. One of my colleagues once announced, 30 minutes into a meeting, that the company had just wasted $1,000 in company time, based on the $4 million in salaries sitting around that conference table divided by 4,000 half hours. Facing the same problem? Here are some basic steps you can take to get more done in less time:
Stay on mission. Know exactly what the meeting is going to cover and don’t let people get distracted. Require that all personal or mobile data devices be turned off or left at the conference room door. Allocate a set period of time for each point, and keep all participants accountable to the clock. On a more subtle level, a less comfortable meeting room tends to produce more efficient meetings, because no one wants to stick around a second longer than necessary. You don’t necessarily have to remove all of the chairs and make people stand (although you could!) — just remember that it’s a meeting room, not a cruise ship lounge.
Use technology. Modern technology can speed your meetings up dramatically. Interactive meeting software allows each participant to type their suggestions into a powerful critical mass of creativity. And modern “cloud computing” applications such as BaseCamp and Kerio Workspace allow meeting participants to shoot ideas back and forth in a web-based virtual conference room, wherever they may be in real life.
Give marching orders. Meetings that don’t produce immediate action are a waste of time, so you must create an action plan that gives each participant a clear, time-bound mission for implementing what you just discussed. And don’t leave that meeting without a definite agenda in place for the next meeting, including progress reports.
Have a good meeting!