Getting the most out of meetings

“We’re having too many %$*# meetings!”  We all hate them, but no matter if it is for business or personal, they are a necessary evil!

Have you ever calculated the cost of a meeting??  business people group at officeFor example a one hour meeting of directors and senior staff in my organisation equates to approximately $1,500 in lost chargeable time.

Some businesses do it really well and some …… not so well.  And the accolades or blame sit squarely on the shoulders of the “top brass”!  They lead by example and their commitment will determine success!

The meeting is finished, everyone agrees that they have reached decisions with consensus, now all that is required is implementation; simple really, is it not?  Lack of implementation of meeting outcomes is the biggest factor in meeting inertia.

Something to remember – a meeting contributes to the corporate memory and is one event in the greater context of achieving organisational objectives. Lack of implementation of meeting decisions risk staff becoming indifferent in future meetings.  I can vouch for that! Getting the most out of meetings – how then can we counteract this trend?

  1. Prior to the commencement of the meeting, ensure everyone understands and agrees on the reason for the meeting and the desired outcomes.
  2. Ensure all stakeholders are included in the meeting or have been given an opportunity to participate or contribute.
  3. Development of an implementation plan must commence at the planning stage and continue during the course of the meeting.
  4. Ensure everyone is involved in the discussion and consensus is reached for decisions made, required actions, responsibility and timeframes.
  5. Align the goals of the meeting with the strategic goals of the business.
  6. Review the implementation plan prior to the meeting closing in order to identify any potential barriers and discuss ways to overcome or minimise them.
  7. Conduct a post meeting evaluation to review status of actions and ensure everyone remains committed and is progressing their assigned actions.
  8. Involve the “business leader” to demonstrate commitment to the implementation plan.
  9. Ensure there are “small wins” that can be achieved in a very short period of time to ensure momentum and a “feel good” state for participants.
  10. Communicate the outcomes to the wider business. This has a two-fold effect: of recognising and encouraging achievements and rendering the process transparent and ensuring accountability.
  11. Consider the culture of the business and the leadership style of the “top brass” and determine strategies to negate negative issues.

Unfortunately there will never be a 100% guarantee of success, the variables are too numerous, but an improvement in perception and actions would definitely help us all! Contributed by Coral Graham

Coral Graham – Business Manager

Optima Partners, March 2015

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