Well–run meetings can create a sense of involvement, provide opportunities to share ideas, solve problems and make decisions. All too often however, meetings feel like a waste of time and all the ‘real’ work happens elsewhere.
It is estimated that managers spend between 25 – 80 per cent of their working days in meetings (Romano and Nunamaker 2001).
In the US alone, approximately 11 million meetings take place every day. However up to 56 per cent of meetings are deemed unproductive (Wharton Centre for Applied Research).
Just think of the opportunity to re–use this time.
Following are some practical ideas that will help you as chairperson get more out of your meeting time.
Just think ABC
|A||What is the aim or purpose of the meeting? Why do we need to meet? What needs to be discussed? Who needs to be there? When does it need to happen? Be prepared!|
|B||Begin or introduce the meeting by explaining the aim or purpose, outline the agenda, how long it will last and what you are expecting to get from it. By managing expectations from the start, you will get more from your participants.|
|C||Commitments and actions. Capture and communicate what has been agreed. A meeting with no outcomes is a waste of time. Summarise what you have achieved, be clear on actions and responsibilities, and what happens next.|
If it starts to go wrong ... remember, you have an objective, a set time frame and a voice. Speak up and get it back on track. Your time is precious and together you should be achieving more.
Classic meeting blunders
Not starting on time. No matter who is there, start your meeting on time. This sends a message to the late attendees and is respectful of those who were punctual.
- No clear agenda or purpose. Explain your meeting when you are inviting people, why you are getting together and what you want from them. If you wish circulate an agenda in advance. Explain at the start of the meeting what you are gathered together to discuss, what you want from attendees and how long you have.
- Getting side–tracked. Speak up! Remind everyone of the objective of the meeting (what you are there to discuss and what you are not) and how long you have. Some topics will have to be parked or discussed later. Stick to your agenda.
- A one–man show. Encourage everyone to have a say and ensure no one takes over the discussion. Thank people for their contributions and specifically invite views or ideas from others. If someone is dominating the discussion suggest that you catch up after the meeting to discuss their particular points in more depth (in order to move the conversation along) or ask them to allow other people to have a say.
- The big whinge. Encourage people to look for solutions, not just talk about the problems. Acknowledge the issues and empathise but keep the discussion moving forward.