Executives: Is that Meeting Really Necessary?

Most in-person meetings are indispensable for:

  • Keeping team members up-to-date on any changes or modifications in the workplace
  • Providing a forum where staff can exchange ideas and make decisions
  • Offering opportunity for leaders and colleagues to discuss business developments and current industry trends

U.S. employees spend approximately 5.6 hours in meetings every week, according to a recent Microsoft survey. Unfortunately, 71% of respondents believe the meetings were not productive.

Meeting-Advice-Staff-at-Meeting

 

Although holding a meeting can be quite valuable and necessary for communicating ideas in the workplace, in excess they can have a certain negative impact on company productivity.

So, before you schedule your next meeting, there are certain factors to take into consideration:

1.   What is the purpose of the meeting?

You need to be clear about the purpose of your meeting. If you just want to get status reports on a project or if you are concerned with some details of a project, there is no sense in drawing everyone away from their work and into a meeting room. All you need to do is talk to a key person (i.e. team supervisor or manager) and ask questions or state your concerns, requesting that any vital information be relayed to necessary team members.

On the other hand, if you want to structure a project, or for brainstorming solutions to a problem or other workplace concerns, an in-person meeting is probably the best answer.

2.   Is there a need for outside input to make progress on a project?

There are instances when you know what work has to be done and you know that you have to be the one to do it. In cases such as these, a structured meeting is likely unnecessary. However, if you need to clarify and organize tasks, you best meeting face-to-face with those members who are capable of giving the right feedback and answering necessary questions before you proceed.

3.   Should you hold the meeting immediately?

If you do not have all of the required information or if an important team member is not available, it’s best to postpone the meeting. If you need feedback on written documents, trying sending via email first. This gives your employees time to review thoroughly while preparing their proper feedback by the time you have the meeting. It can be very awkward for the employees concerned if you are watching them read and knowing that you are waiting for their feedback, there on the spot.

4.   Is there a better alternative to a face-to-face meeting?

As stated earlier, if you just want progress reports on a project, you don’t necessarily need to gather your employees into the board-room. Many solutions can be achieved via phone, email, or other means. If the matter at hand involves no more than two individuals, having an informal session with only those concerned may prove more effective than a meeting which included the entire department.

5.   What will happen if you don’t hold a meeting?

Before deciding to postpone a meeting, ask yourself what would not be accomplished if you do not push through. How would your staff react? If managers tell you that no one would miss anything or if their actions show that they are not interested, consider cancelling, or at least, postponing the meeting.

6.   If you think you need to have a meeting, prepare a comprehensive agenda.

Time on-the-clock away from actual work should always be productive. If you don’t want to waste any time during the meeting, be sure to prepare a comprehensive agenda that includes the objective of the meeting, list of attendees, length of time the meeting should take, topics to be discussed, decisions that need to be made at the meeting, as well as any preparation necessary for attendees before attending.

Also, make a mental note of what you expect to happen once the meeting comes to end. To be sure you have held an effective meeting, work out a timeframe and follow up with attendees on the topic(s) discussed.

Meeting-Advice-Agenda-Graphic

 

Conclusion

It is imperative that you follow your agenda, starting and ending your meeting on time. Make sure you communicate this to all attendees. Consider designating one individual to take notes (or minutes) during the meeting for documentation purposes.

In-person meetings are an excellent tool for leaders and team members, only if done efficiently. However, whenever possible, keep it simple, course the discussion through email, phone calls, or video conference calls.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

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