How much time do you waste in meetings?
Employees can spend—or waste—approximately five hours per week sitting in meetings. It’s your job to ensure that the time they spend in those meetings is worth it. Here are five of “The 12 Biggest Meeting Mistakes Managers Make” presented in the training kit Meeting Makeover: Say ‘Good-bye’ to Inefficient, Poorly Run Meetings.
Are you making any of them?
- Meeting for the sake of meeting. Don’t fall into the rut of scheduling a meeting for Tuesday at 1 p.m. simply because you always have a meeting on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. If all you want is a brief update on each attendee’s status, ask for it via email. Then compile the list and distribute it as necessary. Another option: Set up a team or project wiki for updates. Think of meetings as a last resort; schedule them only when you can’t come up with a better way to reach your objectives.
- Including people who don’t need to be there. Invite only those people who can contribute or who will benefit—preferably those who will do both. If you’re requiring the attendance of team members who don’t have anything to contribute to the meeting or who won’t benefit from the information shared, they will be bored and frustrated. Their negativity can then spread to the rest of your attendees. Note: Make an exception to the rule and invite interns and new hires. Though they might not have information to share and won’t be using the material immediately, they’ll benefit from learning about your organization, processes and team.
- Holding attendees hostage. If you need someone to hear or discuss one topic, dismiss him or her once you have covered that topic. If you’re lucky enough to finish ahead of schedule, end the meeting early. Just because you have an extra 25 minutes doesn’t mean you should drone on or attempt to cover unrelated material. Team members will be annoyed that you are “punishing” them for their efficiency. Plus, they may not be prepared to discuss your new topic.
- Not issuing an agenda. Without an agenda, there’s no telling where a meeting is headed. Before scheduling anything, take some time to think about your goals. What do you intend to accomplish? Who will be responsible for covering which items? How long will you devote to each item? Email your agenda and any background materials to all participants at least four days before the meeting—earlier if you are requiring a good deal of preparation from attendees.
- Depending on Outlook’s default scheduling. Calendar programs such as Outlook’s automatically schedule 30-minute chunks for all appointments. You can reset the time scale in Outlook to as little as 5 minutes. (In Outlook 2010 you will find the setting under the View tab.) When you send meeting invitations, include the start and ending times.
To learn the seven other meeting mistakes, order Meeting Makeover: Say ‘Good-bye’ to Inefficient, Poorly Run Meetings.
By following the advice presented in the Meeting Makeover Training Kit, you’ll learn a process for transforming your dull, unproductive, time-draining meetings into efficient and effective meetings that make the time and the money you spend while employees attend them worth it.
This multimedia resource includes:
- The 20-minute video Leading 20-Minute Meetings That Matter, with a Trainer’s Guide and a Viewer’s Guide (a $149 value).
- The 60-minute audio conference presentation Meeting Makeover: Lead Meetings That Grab Employees’ Attention and Spur Them Into Action (a $229 value).
- A 66-page workbook stuffed full of best practices, guides, tips, quizzes and more.
- Dozens of print-ready and customizable forms team leaders and employees can reference again and again.