There will be 50 million meetings today in the US alone*. How many will be productive and what about your meetings?

If you think yours will be productive, then odds on, you’ll be the host. The perceptions of hosts and  attendees are often disconnected. This matters as high employee engagement, with all its benefits, is correlated to satisfaction with meetings.

There is a major opportunity to reduce frustrations and boost returns since most professionals spend a lot of, if not most of, their (expensive) time in sub-optimal meetings.

The holy grail is the judicious holding of relevant meetings with good time management and true freedom of speech.

Almost all of my clients grapple with time management. An audit of their meetings invariably leads to positive change.

We focus on those meetings that they host since these can be re-vamped most easily. Key starter questions include:

  1. Are they all necessary or merely habitual? What are the implications of skipping the meeting(s)?
  2. Are the right people attending?
  3. If you were starting from scratch who would attend and what would the meeting frequency be?
  4. Is there or could there be a group of core attendees supplemented with secondary attendees, as appropriate?
  5. Is the agenda set out in question format to give a solutions focus?
  6. How satisfied are you with the level of pre-meeting preparation (your own and that of others)?
  7. How long are your meetings and do they start and finish on time?
  8. Do you dominate the meeting?
  9. Are ideas shared and Is there freedom of speech? (What matters is the perception of your staff.)
  10. Are action points assigned?

Responses to these questions invariably lead to experimentation and change. Some meetings are scrapped, others are reconstructed.

Perhaps the easiest win is to “gift” time back to your staff. This can be achieved by minimising the number of attendees (while ensuring people are kept in the loop), shortening meetings and keeping to schedule. Research shows that meetings which start late are associated with more interruptions and side chats. Late finishes have even more negative knock-on effects.

Who doesn’t like an early finish? Show respect for the time of your team and they will respect you. Gift time today.

*The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven Rogelberg

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