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Meetings: A Necessary Evil

Meetings: A Necessary Evil

Kerrie Halmi | AdminSecret

How much time do you spend in meetings? How much of it is necessary?

Industry Week reports that the estimated cost of wasted time in unproductive meetings exceeds $37 billion annually. Estimate a meeting’s cost by taking the average hourly rate of the participants – a conservative estimate for managers is $40/hour – and multiplying it by the number of people at the meeting and the length of the meeting. You will soon realize how costly each ineffective meeting is.

Meetings do not have to be this way. I had the opportunity to be in a cross-functional group that had incredibly efficient and effective meetings. I learned many techniques and tips from how we ran our meetings. The overall keys are structure and discipline. Granted, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. However, it’s possible to have personality within those meetings and get things done. Most importantly, you’ll have more time to have fun outside of meetings!

To reduce the number of unproductive meetings in your organization, follow these tips:

• Always ask: “Is a meeting necessary?” If you can’t clearly articulate an objective for the meeting with a planned outcome, don’t have a meeting.

• Use an action item template to ensure that there are results from the meetings and it is clear who is responsible for what and by when. Many meetings are redundant because nothing was done from the prior meeting.

• Distribute an agenda ahead of time

• Have different roles at each meeting. For example: A facilitator to run the meeting, a timekeeper to keep it on track, and a scribe to take notes.

• Start on time and end on time – if people want to socialize, they can do it before or after the meeting.

• Do not assume a meeting needs to be one hour – some meetings only require 15 to 20 minutes.

• Finally, make sure all participants give feedback at each meeting, answering the following questions: What went well? What could be improved? Were all the right people here? Were there too many people here? Was it run efficiently? Did we need this meeting? What was accomplished?

Start making these guidelines part of your company culture and save time and money by reducing unnecessary meetings.

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