Corporate meetings have earned a bad rap. According to HR Digest, US companies lose an estimated $37 Billion due to ineffective meetings every year. Considered a necessary evil for information sharing, decision making and brainstorming, meetings are a pain point for most employeess. They’re either perceived as unnecessary, repetitive, non-engaging or technical difficulties interfered with productivity. So, there must be a better way to get things done, right?
The following outlines a few key principles to help meetings shed their bad reputation.
Before setting a meeting, leverage this decision making tree and determine whether a meeting is the right setting for the outcome you’re trying to accomplish. Consider an alternative to meetings such as group chats on platforms like slack, or co-working documents such as Google Drive to collaborate.
Set an agenda: setting a clear outline of the topics to be covered during a meeting help keep everyone on track and following along. The agenda topics should frame up the conversation to produce an action item/next step or resolve an action item. If reviewing a presentation, reporting on KPIs or sharing information, these materials should be sent to attendees ahead of time, and attendees should take the initiative to review them so that meetings can be productive discussions vs. content reviews.
Establish Communication Channels: Whether using a conference line, video conference or screen sharing in a boardroom and ensure that everyone is clear on how to use the technology required for the meeting. It is important that attendees don’t become frustrated or disengaged before a meeting starts. While we’re here, we should probably address the mute button, too. Mute while you’re not speaking to prevent background noise, but remember that you should still be engaged to maintain meeting cadence and avoid the “Sorry, I was on mute, delay.”
Start on time: Nearly 40% of corporate meetings start late. Attendees should aim to attend or call in 5 minutes prior. So, if you’re the kind of person that does the “coffee, bathroom, forgot my notes routine” you may want to aim for 10 minutes early. Respecting your coworkers time helps productivity go a long way.
Participation & Follow Up
Engage: Engage your attendees by name, assign roles before the meeting starts, ensure there is a note taker and create frequent and equal opportunity for participation from all attendees. Attendees: stay off your devices: if you’re not actively engaged in a meeting, it is likely you don’t need to be there in the first place. Recording meetings on a device is a great way to collect the meeting info to run back for clarification.
Brainstorms: A special note. While collaboration and creativity are at the core of most marketing agencies, collaboration and creativity can sometimes run wild and not produce clear results or strategy. Check out this resource from HubSpot with tons of unique approaches to help generate that next BIG idea.
Next Steps & Follow Up: Leverage the agenda & meeting notes, there should be a clear understanding from all participants as to who is responsible for what, and what the timelines for the deliverables are. One key part to the follow up will be to include the topics that arose during the meeting that were not agenda items. Table these conversations and ensure they’re addressed in the appropriate future meeting.