Efficient meetings or effective meetings, which should be our goal? In this weeks blog we explore why sometimes we take the wrong path in our journey to fixing our meetings.
Efficient meetings or effective meetings? It’s a question we get asked a lot and both have merits depending on your goals and the challenges you’re trying to fix in your organisation. Now we can all accept that meetings take up a huge amount of time, a lot of them unnecessarily if the research is to be believed. But there are a huge number of other factors that derail meetings loosing employees engagement (read will to live) and striking dread into the calendars of attendees. Before looking at the merits of each approach, and sharing Amazemeet’s perspective, let’s consider what factors ensure better meeting and the kind of meetings we have. Or more importantly what factors may be missing that are making your meetings bad.
Meetings tend to fall into these categories
- Status Update Meetings.
- Information Sharing Meetings.
- Decision Making Meetings.
- Problem Solving Meetings.
- Innovation Meetings.
- Team Building Meetings
Depending on your goals it’s likely you have a problem with some of these, the obvious one that hurts efficiency are status updates, very often an email will suffice and problem solving meetings rarely prove effective if there’s little follow up.
Factors important for good meetings
These tend to fall broadly into before, during and after activities.
Before the meeting set the meeting objectives. invite the right people, don’t just assume ask them if they can activly contribute towards these. Have a clear agenda for how the meeting will play out.
During, assign a facilitator and assign time to topics that fall within the meeting scope. Take care to part conversations that explore tangents, you can come back to them. Note down actions and who will deliver them.
After the meeting follow up on the actions, share the follow up with attendees and be sure to set next steps.
Striving for efficiency is a great goal if you tend to have lots of meetings that ramble or could be done more easily via other forms of communication. Let’s face it, wasted time in meetings is one of the biggest challenges we face in corporate life, it literally costs billions every year. A well run efficient meeting, sticking to the agenda items and time keeping with a focussed agenda can work wonders. Try it next week, cut out everything that’s unnecessary and see how much time to do the things that are. An efficiency drive is exactly what you need if you feel you have too many meetings that go on far too long.
Effective meetings are your goal if you have a problem with outcomes. A drive for effectiveness is particularly warranted if your meetings lack follow up and decisions don’t get implemented. If you get a sense that meetings don’t move anything forward it’s likely you’ve got an effectiveness challenge and you should pay close attention to how tasks are assigned and who is responsible for delivering on the follow up actions. It’s a great tip to have a facilitator who manages this after the meeting not just during. Make a person responsible for tracking the follow-up, keeping everyone informed and setting out what happens when the actions are delivered. Have a meeting to celebrate getting it done when you’ve moved through the phases!
The Amazemeet view
It’s clear there are merits of both approaches but my advice when uyou commit to having better meetings is pick one area to fix first. As your meeting efficiency imporves start to figure out ways to improve the efficiency. Remember nothing is perfect and don’t expect it to be from day one. Above all recognising your meetings can bet better is the key.