6 ways to stop meaningless meetings
Are you getting what you want out of your meetings, or do you walk out and bang your head against a wall because they’re just not working how you want them, and you’re not getting the outcomes you are after?
Here are the six things you need to do to get maximum value from every meeting:
- Lock in a date, time and place – if the meeting is important, it probably didn’t get thought up yesterday. Try to lock it in at least a month in advance and have everyone show up on time.
- Think about the invite list – don’t waste people’s time; invitees should be relevant to the agenda. Include all relevant decision makers and key advisers where appropriate (business adviser, lawyer, banker etc.) and advise others of any relevant actions afterwards. This will ensure that you can walk away from the meeting with meaningful actions to take your business forward, not half-baked ideas requiring further approval.
- Set the agenda – circulate the agenda and any key reports and documents at least 48 hours before the meeting. This avoids time wasting and ensures all attendees are on the same page and given the chance to identify issues and add agenda items as necessary.
- Take charge – always appoint a chairman and let them ensure the agenda is followed and conversation remains on topic. The meeting should be kept to the predetermined time slot, so if conversation goes off on a tangent, take it offline and move on.
- Action list – your meeting will be useless if there are no actions resulting from it. Appoint someone at the start of the meeting to keep track of the actions and circulate after the meeting. This creates accountability and should highlight what is required, who is responsible and a deadline. People that consistently don’t complete their actions might not be right for your business.
- Consistency – If your meeting includes reporting, keep the format and expectations consistent. There is nothing worse than a meeting where the expectations are dependent on the mood of the chairman.
If you can’t do these things, you should reconsider holding the meeting in the first place; you might be wasting everyone’s time.
If you need help with your governance framework or need an independent opinion in your meetings, let me know.