A staggering 2 years is how long on average an office worker is spending preparing and attending meetings. This was found following research conducted by eShare who recently surveyed 1005 office workers.
Based on a 40 year career this would equate to 2 years of someone’s life!
The report went on to say that 40% of workers thought more than half of the meetings they attended were unnecessary and 30% believed that most meetings they attended were not run efficiently or could be shortened.
Are Meetings a Hindrance?
These figures would indicate that meetings are having a negative impact on workers and companies but my belief is that meetings are beneficial if they are organised properly, have clearly defined goals, stick to an agenda and finish on time.
Running a meeting efficiently is a skill and takes time to master properly. But when you have got the balance right between engagement and productivity then meetings are a great way for people in organisations to come together and deliver great results.
7 Tips on Running an Effective Meeting
To help support you in running a meeting and getting the most out of them here are some key tips:
- Be Clear
Have a defined goal in mind and achieve it. Share it beforehand with the people who will be attending the meeting and ensure everyone is focussed on achieving the desired outcome before the meeting even takes place. Focussed minds will make the meeting far more productive.
- Determine Who Should be Invited
We have all been there, sat in a meeting and wondering why certain people are in attendance. Only invite people who will and can contribute to the overall goal of the meeting. Their attendance must add value.
Too many people in a meeting can also create a chaotic environment if too many people are involved in the conversation.
- Stick to the Agenda
Make sure you have a clear agenda that you stick to. Do not deviate and run off in tangents during the meeting. Not keeping to the agenda is a classic mistake and why many meetings fail to achieve the goal they set out to. It is also a big drain on time and is often the reason many meetings do not finish on time.
- Keep On Track
During the meeting it is important to keep a track of how the meeting is going and the direction it is taking. Is the desired goal still achievable and being worked towards? If the answer is yes then the chances are you are running an effective meeting and everyone is clear on their roles within the meeting.
- Start and Finish On Time
It is a simple rule but one that is so difficult to accomplish. Punctuality is key when you hold a meeting as it will be time driven. Start on time even if people still haven’t arrived. You could be really tough and tell people they will not be permitted to participate in the meeting at all if they are late. So if they are late they will know they can’t attend.
Alternatively when they do eventually arrive do not interrupt the meeting to bring them up to speed. It is their responsibility to catch up and follow up afterwards if there is anything they need to fill in the gaps on. People could have genuine reasons why they are late and I am not trying to suggest you reprimand people for life events that are out of their control. Just simply explain the rules around arriving late and ask people to manage this. We are all grown ups!
Have a stop watch and literally start it at the time when the meeting is designated to start and finish it after the allotted amount of time. If you don’t get done what you needed to or achieve the desired goal then set up another meeting but try and be strict with the timings otherwise you will just allow meetings to run on forever and eat away at your time.
The better you get at running meetings to time the better you will become at achieving the meeting goal.
- No Tech Allowed
Many people will say that we live in a World where technology is at the heart of our business but during a meeting nothing can be more distracting or annoying than everyone having their heads down staring at their phones, tablets, laptops or any other devices.
In addition people are not fully focussed on the meeting if they are looking at their tech devices. It does not make for a productive environment and is not congruent with running a successful meeting.
- Follow Up
After the meeting it is usual for people to switch off from the meeting they have just had and relax their brain. They have been in an intense environment which has required a lot of concentration.
Therefore it is important to remind people of the key points and outputs that were discussed during the meeting. Email the attendees shortly afterwards whilst it is still fresh in your mind.
Confirm who has committed to completing certain actions with relevant deadlines. A written record will help significantly in ensuring the meeting produced the required success and results.
I hope this article has been of benefit to you and helps you when planning for future meetings in your organisation.
If you have any feedback regarding this article then I would be delighted to hear from you.
Strathrgy Consultants Limited
Putting HR at the Heart of your Strategy
0115 856 1295