Time Management: Conduct Effective Meetings

15/03/2023by dang tin0

Conduct Effective Meetings

FULLY 25 PERCENT to 50 percent of management time is spent in meetings of all kinds. These may be one-on-one meetings, brief meetings in the hallway or while going in and out of the office, or more formal sit-down meetings in an office or a meeting room. Unfortunately, 50 percent or more of meeting time is wasted. Meetings consume enor- mous amounts of time and produce little lasting value. However, meetings are also a key management tool and must be used effectively.

Calculate the Meeting Cost

Make sure that you have a good reason for calling or attending any meeting. Look upon each meeting as a busi- ness investment. Look upon a meeting as carrying a cost in managerial and staff time and wages. Take the combined hourly pay of the people in those meetings and realize that you need to get a return on your investment of this amount of money. If you have ten people in a room who earn an average of $50 per hour, then it is going to cost $500 out of the bank account of the company for a one-hour meeting. If someone wanted to spend $500 on a project and came to you for approval, you would want to know what the company would get from this expense. You would probably want to think about it for a while before you approved it. You might even demand more infor- mation and details before you are comfortable authorizing an expenditure of this size. Treat each meeting the same way. Avoid unnecessary meetings. Always ask if this meeting has to be held at all. Whenever a meeting is unnecessary, it is necessary not to have the meeting. If you personally don’t need to attend the meeting, then don’t attend. If you are organizing the meeting, ask yourself who is essential to the meeting, and invite only those people. Refrain from inviting people who don’t need to be there just to make them feel good or important.

Prepare an Agenda

Prepare an agenda for every meeting, and always follow a written agenda. Prioritize the items on the agenda and deal with the most important ones first, in case you run out of time. As the meeting leader, your job is to keep the discussion on track and push for closure on each item before moving on.

Start and stop your meetings on time. If you have people who are chronically late, you might consider locking the door shortly after your start time. Another strategy is to assume that the latecomer is not coming at all and just begin the meeting. Once the meeting begins, ensure that there will be no interruptions while you are in the meeting. In his bestselling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith says that one of the biggest flaws in leadership is the tendency to dominate meetings that are attended by the leader’s subordinates. Because you are the boss, everyone listens when you speak. Over time, people learn not to say anything or to interrupt, but just to let you continue speaking as long as you want, on any subject that
you want.

Ask More Questions

In a meeting, be like the wise old owl that has two ears and one mouth. Use your ears and your mouth in exactly that proportion. Ask more questions and listen more closely than you talk or contribute to the agenda. Use a meeting to elicit the very best thinking of each person in the room, which is not possible if you are talking all the time. The best and most efficient meetings are stand-up meetings. You can hold this type of meeting, perhaps in your office, only no one sits down and whatever needs to be dis- cussed is discussed quickly and succinctly so that everyone can get back to work.

It’s simple to convene such a meeting. You say, “In the interest of time—because I know how busy everyone is— let’s hold a stand-up meeting. That way we can cover every- thing and get back to work faster.” Since people usually are busy, you will find that, given the right time and place, this type of meeting is very much appreciated by your staff members. As Peter Drucker once wrote, “Anything more than 25 percent of managerial time spent in meetings is a sign of malorganization.”

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