Business meetings are sure to have a reputation in your company. People often look at them as a great waste of time, or as a necessary activity that gets things done. Sometimes, wrong and non-productive attitudes show themselves in business meetings, but at other times they can help unify a team.
Plan the Meeting
Every successful business meeting should have a clear objective. The leader needs to decide if the subject matter demands a face-to-face meeting or if emails, texts, or phone calls will do.
All meetings are going to take multiple people away from their job. Productivity will be lost. If it is a trivial matter, there should not be a meeting. Handle it some other way. The cost of each meeting should be determined in terms of the cost of productivity lost, the time it takes to get back on focus after the meeting, and the results that might be gained by it. One survey revealed that the average employee spent about 4.5 hours in meetings each week, and those who prepare for it spent about that much additional time in doing so.
A well-planned meeting enables the leader to quickly get to the point, stay on topic, present the information in an organized manner, get input – if desired, draw a conclusion (or get a consensus), and end the meeting. A meeting not planned well enables problems to creep in and will probably extend the time wasted because the leader will likely get off-topic. It will also lead to feelings of hatred toward meetings and it will feel like a waste of time.
Getting Good Input
There is an old saying – garbage in garbage out. Most of you probably know that it is talking about computers. Meetings are the same way. If you want good input from those in the meeting, it will help to give people advance notice about the topic and what you hope to accomplish in the meeting. Too many meetings only announce the time and place, and no one has any time to think about the topic or prepare.
Every business needs some level of productivity to be accomplished each day. It will always be a trade-off. Taking too much time from productivity and deep thinking to attend too many meetings is contrary to what you want your business to do. It may end up forcing employees to either come in early or stay late to finish their work and it could lead to resentment.
Some meetings can be used to build teams and get them unified toward a single goal. Where this is the case, it may help productivity. If it is helping to strengthen the team and increase profitability – let them continue but limit them.
Develop Meeting Leadership
Many leaders that have a lot of meetings often feel that they lead them well. Some surveys indicate that they only think they do but are actually poor speakers and leaders. Those who lead meetings need to ensure that they learn more about how to conduct them successfully – or those attending the meeting may come to hate the meetings more, which could also undermine the leader’s ability to lead.
Company meetings certainly can have a valuable place in business but they should never be held just to have meetings. If your meetings are generally a waste of time, seek to make them better each time. You might even want to get some feedback from those in the meetings about how to make them better and more profitable.