Dear M & M:
I would like to start doing weekly meetings at our company. I need some help. What can I do to make sure I am not wasting everyone’s time? I want to make these weekly meeting productive.
Meetings are an important part in every business in today’s environment. It is becoming more and more important to make your company meeting efficient and effective. Depending on what study you look at, estimates suggest there are 20 million meetings held daily in US Organizations.
So much time is devoted to meetings that in some companies they have established policies that prohibit scheduling a meeting at least one day of every work week so people will have some time to get some work done. Meetings need to be organized and have a clear purpose. There are four areas that a meeting should focus on to make them effective.
The following fours topics can be used to determine the purpose of your meeting.
1). Information Giving – announce new policies or to update information on existing ones,
2), Information Exchange – give an opportunity for groups, individuals or committees to share information to one another
3), Fact Finding – present relevant information about a problem or particular situation to gather information, the focus is on understanding the problem not finding a solution and the final purpose is
4). Problem Solving – decisions made from fact finding, information exchange are used to make decisions on the proper action to take to solve the problem.
Once you have determined a clear purpose for your meeting one needs to do the second step, preplanning the meeting. The following steps do not cover everything that needs to be done to preplan a meeting as each organization has unique characteristics but, it does cover generally they key areas that need to be addressed. Make sure any room requirements for IT are covered, handouts of materials to be distributed are ready, and amenities like water, snacks etc. are available.
Develop and distribute an agenda before the meeting. Start and end times need to be stated in advance. Make sure that key personnel have advance warning, know where the meeting is held and that you are prepared to accomplish the purpose of the meeting. It is very important that everyone who needs to be at the meeting is available to attend. Make sure someone takes charge of the meeting and keeps everyone on track and on time. Someone should record the events of the meeting.
There are many more things that need to be done to make sure the meeting is effective like follow up, assessments of the effectiveness of the meeting and setting a time for a follow up meeting if one is needed. By not planning a purpose for your meeting and following a few simple steps outlined above I would agree with John Kenneth Galbraith when he stated, “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”
Sources: “Supervisory Management” – Mosley, Mosley and Pietri 8th edition 2011, 2008 Southwestern, Cengage Learning
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