Are Your Managers Good at Conducting Effective Meetings?
Conducting effective meetings is a fundamental management skill that has a direct impact on performance because people spend so much time in meetings. According to recent research by Bain,
Unfortunately, employees from the frontline to the C-Suite complain about ineffective meetings. 8 in 10 executives are dissatisfied with both the efficiency and effectiveness of their company’s meetings and believe that a whopping two-thirds of the meetings they attend are unproductive.
And when you include virtual meetings, the meeting productivity, effectiveness, and level of engagement decreases even further. Conducting effective meetings matters.
Conducting Effective Meetings as a Manager
Something needs to be done to rescue time for employees and give them the opportunity to address their real jobs. Removing ineffective meetings, especially ineffective recurring meetings, is one of the best ways to improve team productivity. Let’s start with the basics:
At a minimum, for a meeting to be relevant, it should have a clearly defined:
Answers why the meeting has been called, identifies the type of meeting, and is used to decide whether the meeting should be held.
Describes the tangible results that you desire from the meeting.
Done right, improving meeting relevance should drastically pare down the number of meetings to only the most urgent and the most important.
Done right, clarity on the type of meeting will set the stage for appropriate outcomes and attendees. For example, the outcome of a Decision Making meeting is action while the outcome of an Information Sharing is awareness. While an Information Sharing meeting can have unlimited participants, 6-8 attendees is best for decision making.
— Those who are highly affected by the outcome of the meeting
— Those who could influence the outcome of the meeting
— Those who make the decision
Done right, having only the required attendees will save everyone time and frustration.
(1) The Leader
The person responsible for starting the meeting, participating in the meeting and following up on agreements
(2) The Facilitator
The person who facilitates the discussion and clarifies the decision makers and the decision making method but has little or no active meeting participation
(3) The Recorder
The person who captures key thoughts but has little or no active meeting participation
(4) The Members
The people who participate fully in the meeting
Clear roles allow you to explicitly keep out attendees that do not have a role in the meeting. Use other avenues to keep other stakeholders in the loop. Unclear role clarity in meetings can increase frustration and decrease effectiveness. Done right, having clearly defined roles will improve your meeting process and outcomes.
In addition to everyone having the objectives, agenda and attendee list ahead of time, we recommend including pre-work if it will help participants to hit the ground running so that the collective time together can be spent on deeper discussions and better decision making.
Done right, pre-work should improve focus and create a greater sense of urgency. Then plan on spending 10-15% at the beginning of the meeting to review and finalize the meeting agenda. Starting off with the right context and buy-in is paramount for meeting success.
Done right, improving accountability will make sure your meetings matter.
The Bottom Line
Conducting effective meetings re-captures the commitment of the attendees and re-gifts them with time that can be much more productively utilized. You will know you are on the right track when everyone knows why a meeting has been called, there is explicit agreement on the tangible meeting outcomes, everyone is prepared, and action plans and accountabilities are clear.
To learn more about being an effective manager and conducting effective meetings, download 5 Management Misperceptions that Slip Up Too Many New Managers
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