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The Real Cost of Unproductive Meetings
The corporate business meeting is an unavoidable part of life in a company. If you’ve worked in a company of any size, anywhere in the world, you will know this. Even at mould-breaking tech companies, where everyone communicates through collaboration software, people still need to occasionally meet face to face. But is it worth it?
With a staggering £37 billion wasted on meetings each day, and half of those considered not to be worthwhile, it seems not. As well as this, more than 90% of employees have admitted daydreaming in a meeting, and almost 40% have actually fallen asleep! The main concern amongst staff stuck in meetings is that work of value is piling up while they are trapped doing nothing of importance. Surely there must be a better way? Can it be possible to hold meetings that have real worth and value? Yes!
Meetings are unproductive because they are generally not run well. They are still the best way for people to gather and discuss projects and ideas, but the format of the meeting may need to change. With the right people, a clear agenda and a mechanism or a role which can be assumed for the duration of the meeting (and learnt in a facilitator course) to ensure that follow-up tasks are completed, there is no reason that any meeting should be pointless.
So, the recipe for the perfect meeting. Ensure that:
- The meeting cannot be accomplished through other means (such as a phone call or email)
- The meeting has a clear purpose and desired outcomes.
- The meeting has a clear agenda
- Preparation and presentation materials are known and viewed in advance
- Only participants crucial to the meeting outcome are present
- The meeting is scheduled at a time that allows everyone required to be fully present
- The meeting starts on time
- Someone in the meeting is responsible for ensuring the agenda is followed, and that discussion on each topic is focused
- All participants are fully engaged, and are able to speak freely and honestly
- Action items, decisions and plans are captured visually as the meeting progresses
- The meeting ends on time
- A summary of key insights, action items and decisions is sent to all participants and stakeholders shortly after the meeting
- There is a follow-up mechanism to ensure all action items are completed
If you follow all these points you’ll ensure that employees get the maximum benefit from any given meeting. If you’ve been stuck in a boring meeting, you’ve also probably been to an excellent one as well. Imagine that feeling of accomplishment, drive and satisfaction – that could be the result of almost every meeting you have. Isn’t that something we all want?
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