Do you even need to fix your meetings? The truth is the majority of meetings ain’t great so chances are you do.
Most people don’t think they need to fix their meetings. But, ask almost anyone in almost any company about meetings and you are likely to find far more negative feeling than positive. That may seem like fag packet analysis but the truth is the research doesn’t lie. Have a gander at our post The Hidden Cost of Crappy Meetings for more.
But how do you fix your meetings?
In my experience of working with some of the largest companies in the world, people end up doing some really bizarre things to fix their poor meeting culture.
“No more meetings” rule – as the title implies, no one books anymore meetings ever. This , of course, is total nonsense because the conversations people still must have are simply taken into a different medium like Slack where you might be having meetings whilst you ‘work’ at your desk.
“No Meetings” days – having given up on fixing meetings, this is usually an attempt to protect some time in the week for employees to focus on being productive.
“No meetings longer than ..” rule – with the intent that even if meetings are wasteful and uncomfortable, at least we aren’t spending too much time on them.
“Standup only meetings” rule – in the hope that participants will not take too long before their feet hurt.
Whilst I welcome any thing that might help people be more productive, make meetings more effective – for heaven’s sake I wish they based their ‘corrective’ efforts on actual data.
So, how do you get data to fix your meetings?
To have data to analyse you’ve got to start collecting data. There are a number of areas we’ve highlighted that contribute to a successful meeting outcome, namely:
- Attendance and punctuality
- Agendas and contributions
- Follow-up and task tracking
Each one allows you to focus on the key aspects of a good meeting. Having the right people invited in the first place, having a clear agenda, with time allotted to each element. Ensuring attendees are contributing, if they’re not they likely don’t need to be there, and the all important follow up. Each area represents a facet of the meeting that can be recorded and scrutinised once enough data has been collected. Outcomes can then be tracked back and correlated with the other areas of meeting performance to identify the kind of meetings that are succesfull. This can be used to shape future meetings and ensure that everyone attending follows a process you know will succeed.
It also help to categorise your meetings so you can take a different approach, broadly most meetings fall into the following categories:
- Status Update Meetings.
- Information Sharing Meetings.
- Decision Making Meetings.
- Problem Solving Meetings.
- Innovation Meetings.
- Team Building Meetings
Each of these requires a different approach, some might be better served via different channels. Maybe you can use a Slack channel for status updates? Ultimately though each organisation works differently, by focussing in on successful outcomes you be able to shape your meeting culture just the way you want it and fix your meetings.