Wednesday, 18 July 2018

How to get the most out of meetings & make them productive & useful

Organisations, businesses and individuals need to have meetings.  Sometimes face to face is the only technique to build relationships with your peers gets things moving.

Why do you think so many people feel meetings are a waste of time?

  • Because they are generally not ran properly, they do not keep to time and nothing really gets actioned. 
  • People don’t turn up on time or have to leave early
  • Some people don’t respect the other participants which leads to problems
  • There are too many of them
What are the most common mistakes made in meetings?

  • Actions from meetings are not made accountable i.e. people think they can get away with not carrying out their agreed task and wait until the next meeting or a meeting after that to give a reason why.
  • Late to meetings.  Participants don’t realise that actions are actually taken and given without them.  If the meeting starts on time and is ran correctly then no one should ever be late.
  • Meetings starting late.  This is disrespectful to the participants
  • Don’t stay on track and move off the subject being discussed
  • Running over
  • Travel it takes to get to them not considered

What can be done to make meetings more productive and useful?

  • Agenda one week beforehand so people can be prepared
  • Minutes from the last meeting attached
  • Get things sorted outside the meeting.  Small details can be ironed out and sorted before a meeting so you only confirm what is to be actioned inside the meeting.
  • Only discuss a certain amount of points and keep to time and don’t run over
  • Only have the necessary people at the meeting

Can you give any personal examples of good and bad practice around meetings?

  • I have been involved in hundreds of meetings and one good practice that the late Dame Anita Roddick  had was to lock the meeting room door if people were late.
  • She would then proceed to give all the actions to that person.  No one was ever late to a meeting with Anita.  Her time was to precious anyway.
  • Where a meeting lasted 4 hours.  No one can sit there for 4 hours and concentrate.

What tips would you give for making meetings productive and relevant?

  • The first thing you must always do with a meeting is get someone to chair it/run it and someone to take actions Keep them short and to the point.  The meeting will be well managed  
  • Some actions can be taken offline before the meeting ensuring that only the really important things that need a big discussion by the group get air time.
  • Use technology to get things sorted quickly outside of meetings – WhatsApp groups, messenger to get group agreement before a meeting
  • Don’t have so many so things have to be carried out between meetings – 4 a year
  • Get actioned confirmed by email on a regular basis.  Trello is a great PM tool.  My company use it and it’s very effective at getting results