Meetings about meetings? Make them work

The line between over-strategising everything and not keeping an overview of what’s going on is a gossamer one.

Some staff – already faced with burgeoning workloads – can get worn down and have their work-time eroded by what they may construe as meeting after meeting after meeting.

Others enjoy being formally kept in the loop at every available meeting room opportunity.

Birdseye View of a Meeting

A happy compromise can be achieved by the utilisation of just two words – and they are “continuity” and “monitoring”.

These help negate the need for too many meetings because processes are ongoing. But they still ensure that there is a rolling stock of conferences to let people know where they are and what the company’s latest objectives are. They make sure your meetings are effective and productive.

But how do you achieve this?

Know your purpose

Some managers can give the impression of calling a meet merely for the sake of it. Not only will they not know the purpose of the meeting, they won’t know the desired outcome either. Solutions or strategically planning towards solutions should be the objective of every meeting. The discerning executive will manoeuvre round this common fault by only calling meetings when necessary and not wasting staff time. Time really is money. If you are in a meeting room for 60 minutes with 20 delegates earning £20 an hour, you’ve just set fire to £400. So know your purpose and make it a real focus throughout your hour’s (or however long it takes) brainstorming session.

End all meetings with a concise summary

There’s a certain symmetry about the start and end of a meeting. You certainly need to outline your goals at the beginning. Failure to do so could leave many employees wearily emerging from the conference room scratching their heads and wondering: “What was all that about?” A concise, accurate, digestible precis of what has been discussed at the end of the meeting can work wonders. So outline what has been achieved plus what has been said.

End all meetings with actionable outcomes

Then go on to sketch out how you hope to move forward from the meeting. Construct action plans, setting both collective and individual tasks. Delegates should be assigned projects in their own field of expertise which they should see through.

Get organised to ensure even better continuity

If pertinent but off-topic points are raised, why not put them on to the agenda for the next meeting? Get the minutes typed-up and proof-read. Then email them to attendees while the events are still fresh in their minds – certainly no more than four days after your original get-together.

Get everyone involved

Boredom is your biggest enemy – or the boredom of your staff anyway. Boredom can lead to distraction and even disruption, unless every delegate knows why they are there, what their role is, and are encouraged to get involved. This may mean rationing the speech bubbles of an attendee hogging the discussion to get everyone participating.


Posted by Ashleigh Sharp


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