Ineffective meetings waste more than your precious time - they also hit your company’s bottom line. In fact, there’s a Meeting Calc app that you can use to determine exactly how much the meeting costs based on the salaries of the people in the room and how long the meeting runs. As they say, “It takes a really good meeting to be better than no meeting at all."
Even if you aren’t a “numbers person,” take a moment to consider who’s in the room at your next meeting. Think about the opportunity cost - if those people weren’t sitting in this meeting, what else might they be doing? Closing sales? Servicing customers? Finding new partners or channels? Developing products? Coaching their teams? Thinking up brilliant new revenue growth strategies?
As you can see, the stakes are high. Meetings aren’t going anywhere in our world of work - they are here to stay. And, that’s good news, because when done well, meetings can be a really productive and energizing time. (Remember all those really great and expensive brains you have in one room!) So, what’s the difference between a meeting that's a waste of time and one that engages the participants and produces strong results - a high return on your investment in meeting together?
Preparation. Even if you aren't the one facilitating, taking the time to adequately prepare before you walk in the room is the key to maximizing the time you spend in meetings. But, the definition of “prepared” is different depending on the type of meeting you’re attending. Think about the next meeting on your calendar, find the description that most closely matches it, and take the quiz to see if you’ve done your part to make the meeting worth the time you’ll spend there.
Annual or Quarterly Planning Session
_____ Have you reviewed the year or quarter that just ended and thought about your personal or team victories?
_____ Have you thought about what lessons you learned or what you could have done differently?
_____ Have you completed any assigned pre-work, such as a reading assignment or a Start-Stop-Keep exercise?
_____ If you lead a department, have you collected Start-Stop-Keep ideas from your team prior to the executive team planning session?
_____ Have you compiled any data that you may need to share with your team about potential priorities or projects for the upcoming quarter or year?
_____ Have you considered what resources or new hires your team might need to be successful in the coming year or quarter?
_____ Have you considered what support you may need from other departments to complete your projects?
_____ Do you have insights from your customers, competitors, or the market in general that would be beneficial to consider as you plan?
Weekly Team Meeting
_____ Have you reviewed your dashboard and updated your Red-Yellow-Green status on each item based on your forecast of how you’ll finish up the quarter?
_____ Have you made a comment on any KPIs or Priorities that are Red or Yellow with your proposed adjustment plan to get back on track?
_____ Have you thought about any items that are SuperGreen and what learnings or best practices you might be able to share with your team?
_____ Have you updated your Action Items for the week, either marking them complete or letting the team know you're behind?
_____ Have you had a “meeting with yourself” to identify victories from last week and think about your priorities for the week ahead?
_____ Have you documented anything that has you stuck to ask for help from the team?
_____ Have you recorded any feedback you received from customers during the week?
_____ Have you reviewed your team members’ status updates and comments prior to the meeting?
_____ Have you reviewed other groups’ dashboards and comments to see if there are any opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration?
_____ Do you understand the purpose of the meeting?
_____ Do you have a clear objective and know what outcome will make the time spent a success?
_____ Do you have an agenda with an idea of how much time to spend on each item?
_____ Do you have the right people in the room - and only those people?
_____ Have you completed any thinking or researching that you could do in advance to prepare for your full participation in the meeting?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you might not be fully prepared to participate effectively in your meeting. Don’t waste your team’s time and your company's money! Go ahead and get prepared - you’ll get a lot more out of the meeting if you do some legwork in advance. (Plus, wouldn't that money be better spent on a celebratory cruise for all employees than on those extra hours stuck in your conference room?)
Are you facilitating? That’s a big job, and one with a lot riding on it. Since we know how much hard work goes into successful facilitation, we put together a guide to help you. Enjoy!
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