Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Comprehensive Guide to Conduct Effective and Efficient Business Meetings

Here is a startling fact that you may not know – Businesses in U.S. lose approximately $37 billion in salary cost as a result of meetings! This is equivalent of annual revenue of some of the largest companies in the U.S. Imagine the money that companies can save just by avoiding, or at least being effective in, those meetings. Ask any professional about his opinion on the meetings he has to attend as part of his job and more than likely you will hear lots of complaints. According to Atlassian, employees on an average attend 62 meetings per month. Nearly 50% of those meetings are considered waste of time by employees attending those meetings!

So what is wrong with the way in which businesses conduct meetings? Majority of them are organized without a pre-planned agenda and most of them end without having made any decision. The complaints about meeting fall into these categories:
Inconclusive or no decisions made
  • Poor preparation
  • Disorganization
  • Domination by individuals
  • No published results

So, if the meetings are loathed universally by nearly everyone is there anything that can be done to improve them and avoid wasting time and money? Below are some guidelines to conduct effective and efficient meetings.

Avoid Unnecessary Meetings –Amongst all the ideas for effective meetings this is a no brainer. Many of the meetings being organized by people are really not even necessary. The outcome can be achieved simply by picking up the phone and asking the relevant question or sending an email. It has become a habit for many people to simply schedule a meeting for anything. If someone does organize a meeting you do not have to attend it either. Here are the questions you should ask before scheduling or accepting the meeting invite:
  • Is this meeting a priority for the company and for my team? If no, decline.
  • Is this a priority for me? If no, delegate.
  • Is a meeting the best solution or can we achieve the same result by other means? If no, block time in your calendar to do the task.
If yes for all questions, determine how to make the meeting as efficient as possible.

Explore Other Alternatives – With the advance of technology number of other alternatives to meetings have emerged that can take place of meeting. You can simple send a text message or call someone to get the answer. You can send an email or even post your question on the Q&A forum that anyone can answer. Exploring these options can lead to the same outcome without wasting your and everyone’s time.

Make Meetings Effective – If you do have to schedule a meeting you can make it more effective and efficient by following these tips:
  1. Prepare an actionable agenda and circulate to everyone BEFORE the meeting
  2. Prepare all the questions you want to be answered in the meeting
  3. Limit number of attendees to those who are absolutely necessary
  4. Begin the meeting on time and keep it short
  5. Stick the agenda and finish the meeting on time
  6. Define the actions and next steps clearly before leaving the meeting

Meetings do not have to be dreaded by employees if they follow these guidelines. In your career you will come across many situations like this. Make sure you prepare for them by learning them in our online MBA such as the ones offered by Alvernia University, where you can discover your potential in online learning environment.

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