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More Productive Meetings
Most one hour business meetings could be cut in half with the help of some constructive feedback.In these economic times, we need to get more done with less. As professionals, we spend a lot of time in meetings and working with others to achieve our goals as efficiently as possible. If meetings could be more productive, we could accomplish a lot more. In most meetings, decisions are made in the last ten minutes. So why spend the extra time belaboring discussion points and reviewing information that is readily available for all to read?
Improving the speed and quality of meetings can be accomplished by changing the culture within a company and adding a few Unified Communications tools. This culture change starts with holding the meeting initiator accountable for running a productive meeting. This includes:
1.) Set the Agenda--Prior to the meeting, send a detailed agenda with the invite. Within the invite, address:
a. Who will be attending with a link to their knowledge, company, and position b. What the agenda of the meeting is and the type of meeting, including which people need to attend in person, if any c. When the meeting will occur (as specified by date and time) d. Where the meeting will be (e.g. room location, web conference info, link to relevant documentation) e. Why the meeting is called (e.g. objectives of the meeting)
2.) Be strict on time--Start meetings 5 minutes passed the scheduled time and end within one minute of the set schedule. Within office buildings it takes a few minutes to walk between meetings. On conference calls, it takes a few minutes for folks to gather. At 5 minutes past the scheduled meeting time, start--no matter what. Meetings can be recorded for stragglers.
3.) Use Web Conferencing vs. Audio Conferencing--With web conferencing, the process of announcing who has just joined, who is talking, and sharing visual information is quicker, and chats can occur on the side.
4.) Moderator--Choose a disciplined meeting facilitator who will keep the meeting on target.
5.) Post Meeting Survey--Spend 15 seconds at the end of the meeting to fill out an online survey. This allows meeting participants to rate the agenda, adherence to schedule, moderator, and productivity.
Of all the points listed above, the survey is the most powerful. In order to change behavior within an organization, one must be able to measure it and report on it. Peer reviews are one of the most powerful tools to influence and change behavior. A year's worth of data will show who holds the best meetings, who the best attendees are, and what meetings are most productive and why.
One of the features about Web 2.0 culture is allowing for peer review. Whether rating a meeting, a colleague, or a supervisor, feedback can be very constructive and help drive change. So, the next time you are "wasting" time in a meeting, envision the day when they will be shorter and more productive. If not, at least you will be able to let the meeting initiator know.