Meetings. People love to hate them. When a boss announces another office meeting, you can almost always expect to hear some grumbles. An infographic from HubSpot took the time to analyze the reasons why people dislike meetings. Common (and relatable) reasons included being boring, not staying on topic, and not being necessary. However, the biggest reason for disliking meetings is because employees feel they’re a waste of time. The data doesn’t lie.
A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that one large company spent 300,000 hours each year in weekly meetings. Though this was a large company with top executives, department heads, and teams, it still proves the fact that employees are spending a large amount of time sitting in meetings.
If these meetings aren’t valuable, there’s no doubt that employees will feel cheated. And, you should to. You want your employees using their time to network with others and build connections. To ensure that your meetings are time well spent, we share ways to get the most from them.
Have an agenda and share it with your team members.
Each meeting should have a clear purpose and points to discuss. Too often, meetings get off topic, leaving people annoyed. By having an agenda to follow, it ensures that everyone stays on point and the meeting flows efficiently. Hand out the agendas before the meeting so that your team can see what will be discussed. And, if they want to contribute, they can prepare in advance.
Choose a meeting style based on your goals.
The main types of meeting styles are:
- Information share. Information is shared and flows in one direction.
- Creative style. Otherwise known as brainstorming sessions, people come together to toss around ideas. Decisions are made later.
- Consensus decision. A decision needs to be made, and the discussion ends here.
Choose a meeting style from the start so that you and your team know what is expected during and after the session. Your meeting style will also remind you of anyone important that needs to be at the meeting such as a union representative, human resources professional, or lawyer. Sometimes, sensitive information is discussed and requires these individuals to be present.
Invite only those who need to be there.
Many meeting rooms are filled with people who don’t need to be there. The people included in your meeting should be those who have something to gain from attending. If employees are better off at their desks completing other tasks, leave them be. Their feelings won’t be hurt.
If it’s not obvious who should be at your meeting, review the following and make your decision based off this information:
- Agenda. What is the meeting about? Who does it affect?
- Meeting structure. Based on your structure, who should be included in the meeting? How will they contribute?
- Business courtesy. Look over the list to make sure that anyone affected by the decisions are included in the meeting.
There are a lot of different personalities in a meeting. Some people talk a lot, some don’t. Some bring their laptops, others take notes. And some even answer their phones! If you feel like you’re running a daycare rather than a meeting, it can help to assign roles. Every meeting should have the following:
- Chair. This person announces the meeting and makes sure it stays on track.
- Timekeeper. This person ensures that the meeting follows the appropriate schedule, and that no one person talks too long.
- Participants. For productive meetings, you need participants who are engaged and willing to contribute. This will happen naturally by inviting the right people, handing out an agenda beforehand and even asking everyone to speak for 1-2 minutes each.
- Closer. This individual ends the meeting by re-stating who is doing what and when it’s due.
Start on time and end early.
Be ready to start on time. Too often, employees scramble to make it to the meeting and then the presenter is late. No one person’s time is any more or less valuable than another’s. Show respect for everyone’s schedules and begin the meeting on time.
Also, build in extra time so that you can release everyone early. This is far better than having the meeting run over. Plus, employees have a chance to grab a cup of coffee, mingle with others, or use the restroom. This increases productivity and builds camaraderie in the workplace.
Don’t hold another meeting that your employees dread. Follow the tips above and get more from your meetings. Your employees will thank you, and you’ll notice the difference in the tone and productivity of each session.