Time is money.
Time spent in unnecessary or unproductive meetings is wasted money.
I hate waste and bet you do too. So what are you doing about it?
If you’re not sure where to start, I’m happy to make a few suggestions.
#1: Find Meeting Alternatives Whenever Possible
Getting everyone in the same place at the same time is an expensive way to accomplish tasks that could be done with a lot less hassle and expense.
Think about all the meetings held for the purpose of doing status check-ins. Around the table you go, participants providing a short recap of what they’ve been working on and what they’re going to do next.
I agree that knowing status is useful. I don’t agree a meeting is necessary to accomplish it. How about using a simple Trello board to accomplish the same thing? If you don’t like Trello, there are plenty of cool team collaboration apps on the market. Pick one and use it.
#2: Plan Them Tightly
Almost all meetings could be tightened up. Accomplishing the same amount of work in less time is a big win. Are you a productivity fan? I know I am.
Meetings that go on too long are meetings that someone didn’t take the time to plan. Even the simple act of establishing time limits can shorten things up.
This month I’m taking over as chair for a city commission. Our meetings have an agenda, but the agenda items don’t include time estimates.
One simple change I’m going to make at the first meeting is to start sharing my expectation for how much time each agenda item should take. I’ll also have a process plan that justifies my estimate.
I can’t guarantee we’ll always stick to the limits. In public meetings there is a strong expectation of allowing all to speak. I’m all for openness. I also happen to like when it goes faster.
#3: Manage Them Well
Even if you do have a plan, there are many ways people can derail things and waste the group’s time.
Last night I was at a meeting for the purpose of planning some interviews. Early on a member of the committee started talking about an issue. Others chimed in.
The issue was interesting. People wanted to talk about it. Unfortunately, it had little to do with this committee’s work. At this point, I decided to help out the chair and suggested we needed to stay focused on our goal for the evening.
There was no malicious intent. Humans just like to talk and sometimes that talk is off-topic. It’s okay that it happens. It’s not okay if you let it derail the meeting.
Stuff like this happens all the time. You need to have people who know how to deal with it.
Ready to Save Money?
These three simple actions will save time and that means you save money. To make it happen, you’ll need to make sure your meeting leaders know how to plan and lead meetings.
I’m able to help them in two ways. First, have them read my book, Meeting Hero: Plan and Lead Engaging, Productive Meetings. The reviews are coming in at 5-stars.
Second, consider doing a workshop for your most frequent meeting leaders. I’ll show them how to implement the concepts, give them time to practice, and be there to provide feedback. If you want to schedule a session, email me.
Meetings represent a huge expense in most companies. You need people who are great at managing that expense. I’m ready to help.