There’s an image floating around Facebook of a coffee mug with the statement, “I survived another meeting that should have been an email.” This hilarious image rings with an element of truth–everyone has been subjected to meetings and conferences that accomplish very little. Statistics indicate that employees waste an average of 30 hours per month in useless meetings, which, in turn, result in lost revenue for the employer.
We’ve all been subjected to boring and unnecessarily long meetings, but it is possible to make these times productive and effective. Want to save money and respect the time and effort of your employees? Consider the following before you plan your next business meeting:
- Make a plan. Every meeting should have a clear agenda. Without a definitive plan, it is easier to get sidetracked. An agenda should be prepared and circulated to all who will attend the meeting well in advance.
- Limit technology. iPads, phones and powerpoint presentations are all beneficial, but in many cases, it can actually slow down your meeting agenda. You may be able to streamline your meetings by making your conference room a “device-free zone.”
- Keep meetings small. The larger the group, the harder it is to capture the attention of all participants. Smaller groups are easier to work with, less distracted and more likely to move through your meeting agenda in an efficient manner.
- Understand the purpose of the meeting. Ask yourself, “What is the point of this meeting?” If you simply want to update your employees or ask for feedback, it may be possible to send this information in an email. Emailing also provides the opportunity for employees to respond and express concerns privately, something that may not be possible in a large group meeting.
Collaboration is a an important aspect of any business, but it requires a careful balance of time management and necessity. If you suspect that your employees are “meeting weary” or your meetings are not as effective as possible, try revamping your approach. Shorter meeting times, clear agendas and a focused approach are clear steps toward more efficient collaborative efforts. Instead of simply surviving meetings, make sure they are actually beneficial for the success of your business.