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Eliminating Waste: How to Conduct a Meeting Audit

By Jessica Wishart

    Fri, Dec 8, 2017 @ 11:00 AM Strategy Execution, Effective Meetings

    Take a look at your calendar. If you’re like most executives, you’re booked up with meetings weeks in How to Conduct a Meeting Auditadvance. As we all know, meetings can sometimes be a real waste of time. At Rhythm Systems, we help our clients establish the right rhythm or cadence of meetings and use best practices to ensure the time spent in meetings is valuable. We believe that our Daily Huddles, Weekly Team Meetings, Monthly Meetings, Quarterly Planning, Annual Planning, and ongoing think rhythms help your company (and each of you) work more effectively, solve problems more proactively, and make critical adjustments so you can achieve success. That being said, you probably have some meetings on your calendar that you wonder, “What’s the point?"

    After implementing the meeting rhythm we recommend for optimal operation of your business, you might need to step back and re-evaluate the other meetings on your calendar. Some of them may no longer be necessary. Once you’re in the habit of having effective Weekly Adjustment Meetings, you can probably go ahead and cancel any status meetings with your team. You also may find that you don’t need one-on-one check-ins or annual performance reviews with all of your direct reports once you’ve successfully cascaded Rhythm.

    How do you know if you can trim down your meeting list? Conducting a meeting audit can really help you think through the meetings you need (and the ones you don’t).Tweet: Conducting a meeting audit can help you think through the meetings you need (& the ones you don’t) @RhythmSystems http://bit.ly/2cpRSUS

    How to Audit Your Meetings

    1. Make a list of every meeting you or your leadership team attends on a regular basis.
    2. For each meeting, record the following:
      1. How long is the meeting?
      2. When does it typically occur?
      3. Who attends the meeting?
      4. What is the purpose of the meeting?
      5. What is the typical agenda?
    3. Analyze the results.
      1. If you get stuck answering the question, “what is the purpose of the meeting?” usually, you can stop right there. If you cannot clearly define the meeting’s purpose, you probably do not need that meeting.
      2. Is there any overlap in agenda items from one meeting to the next? If you’re talking about the same things in different meetings, why? If you don’t have a good reason for that, find a way to streamline.
      3. Could you consolidate meetings by changing who attends which meeting? If you’re talking about the same things with different groups, could you combine the groups in some way?
      4. Does the order of your meetings make sense? Are you getting the information flow you need to be most effective? Most often, it works best to have departments meet before the executive team so that the company leaders have the most current data from their teams as they go into their executive team weekly meeting.


    Once you take a closer look at your meetings and analyze whether they each have a clear purpose, the right people, the most effective agenda, and happen at the right time, you can make some decisions. If you or the team feel uncomfortable completely doing away with long-standing meetings, you can do a “test.” Decide that you’ll change up the schedule for a month or a quarter, and then schedule a time to talk about how it went. You can always go back to the old way, but I bet once the team gets into the new habit, everyone will appreciate the time saved by eliminated wasted meetings.

    Rhythm Systems Meeting Facilitation Guide

    Editor's Note:  This blog originally appeared last year and has been republished with updated information

    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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