Time is not a renewable resource. Time is the one thing you can’t get back. Money, sales and even trees can be replenished.
So when it comes to the biggest time-burner in business, prevention is the best policy!
Yes, you can get a poorly planned meeting back on the rails, but why even expose yourself in the first place?
In my article “Sick of Wasting Time on Meetings? Try this” I outlined some simple points to hold effective meetings. The hugely popular and controversial flowchart WAIT (Why Am I Talking?) is a humorous guide and reminder for all to respect each other in meetings.
But you need to answer this question first:
Why Are We Meeting?
Use the following tips:
1. Before accepting a meeting invite
2. When inviting others to a meeting.
3. When planning a meeting.
Note: These do apply to business owners and entrepreneurs!
Are we meeting to plan a meeting?
I know we humans are social beings (most of us) and like gathering together. Sure, let’s meet but let’s organise the gathering! I’d rather have effective meetings that get stuff done and then use the spare time to socialise and have fun.
Many meetings are erroneously held in place of proper executive planning, or because it’s easier to get someone else to do the work! Be wary of this and don’t attend meetings if it’s really someone’s job and they are avoiding doing it.
Have we already held a meeting about this?
This is obvious Xwork(eXtra work). Knock it on the head before the virus spreads.
If the meeting hasn’t already yielded an outcome, why do it again?
I’m not talking about productive meetings or contract negotiations which are progressing. I’m talking about people who like to talk, rather than just get work done!
These can slip through the cracks — even with productive people, so stay alert.
Can I send an email with an update instead?
Many meetings are updates or announcements. Yes, some of these require feedback, buy-in and are best done in a group.
Many meetings can be eliminated with:
1. Informative emails
2. Announcements on the company notice board or intranet.
Will we get more done without meeting?
Meetings are a great coordination tool and can help get more done when used correctly. However, some people try to avoid working by calling a meeting. Enough said!
If you are a manager or executive, it’s more effective to write a project with clear targets and delegate the tasks for people to do. No meeting required at all!
A Clear Purpose & Outcome
A clear purpose and outcome. This is covered in more detail in my video course WAIT (Why Am I Talking? Course).
A meeting without a purpose has no direction can go round in circles without making any progress. It’s like driving a car without knowing your destination and the route there!
Decision Makers Required…
Self-explanatory, if decision makers can’t attend, don’t hold it.
If they don’t turn up, abort!
Clear Agenda & Action Items
How can people arrive prepared if you don’t tell them the purpose, outcome and what needs to be covered? Also, they need enough notice to arrive prepared.
No one likes listening to someone waffle on because they are not prepared. Start by informing all attendees well in advance.
All People Invited Can Add Value?
You may have found yourself in a meeting and wondered 2 hours in, why you needed to be there?!
Ever been in a meeting where half the attendees sit there playing with their phones? Or doing work as there is no need for them to be there?
Or…the more vocal types will start talking which is not always a good idea…
Everyone’s time is valuable. Ensure they need to attend.
I cover all these points in detail and more, in my Why Am I Talking (WAIT) Course.
Until next time, may you spend your meeting time wise, and may your productivity rise!