Posted 27 July 2011 by Chris Farmer
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How to have better meetings
Do you ever attend non-productive meetings?
DO you ever sit in meetings and think "This is NOT the best use of my time"?
Many people do.
Every day, badly run meetings cost organisations dearly, in terms of:
- Time wasted in poorly run meetings
- Meetings that overrun
- And that don't add enough value
Instead, you need productive, well-run and profitable meetings.
Here are some points to ponder.....
1. Remember the high cost of meetings
Meetings are expensive. Not only is there the cost of each individual's wages, per hour, to be considered, there is also an Opportunity cost for each person.
The Opportunity cost is the cost of lost production: the value of the work that the person would have done had he /she not been sitting in the meeting.
The Opportunity cost is not easy to count, because you can't accurately know "what would have happened" if they had not been in the meeting: but opportunity cost is an important factor and you should consider it.
If these people are going to the meeting, then they are not doing other things.
Are the "other things" more valuable than the meeting?
The golden rule: Don't hold a £500 meeting for a £400 decision.
2. Always have an agenda
Always work out, in advance, the purpose of the meeting.
Limit the number of items to nine.
You may have heard that the human mind has limits: and can only retain so much information, in one sitting.
Research shows that most people can hold between 7 and 9 bits of information in their mind before it goes into overwhelm.
Therefore, your meeting should respect the limits imposed by human nature, and not drag on for too long.
3. Have a skilled chairperson, running the meeting
The chair person can make or break a meeting.
The chair person should have the following qualities:
He/she should be able to:
1. Keep the people on track by noticing that they have drifted off the topic.
2. Be assertive with people who become emotional or irrational, and bring them back on-course.
3. Be well organised and have all the information needed to make the decision.
4. Be aware of timings, and keep the meeting moving quickly enough to finish on time, or slightly early.
4. Take good notes
The meeting needs to be recorded.
This will be done either by means of an electronic sound recording (which is unlikely).
Or a written record in your note book (very likely)
But let me ask you a question?
How good are you at taking accurate, handwritten notes, whilst at the same time participating in the meeting?
And: Can you make sense of your notes two weeks after?
Practice the art of taking great notes.
Consider the use of mind mapping as a note taking tool.
Practice making notes of TV shows and seeing how well you do.
The ability to make excellent notes is a valuable skill to master.
5. Learn to use decision matrix
Many meetings are called, in order to make a decision.
But nobody in the room is running a decision matrix!
Consider learning more about decision matrices.
Make decision matrices a study.
By learning the decision matrix you will be able to master the three major types of decision:
The three types of decision are:
- What is the priority order?
- Should we do it? Yes or no?
- Which one/ what kind, should we have?
Most decisions fall into one of those three categories, or they are chains of decisions, one linking onto the other
Should we buy a new company vehicle, and if yes, which one, what kind?
Don't waste your time in meetings
Make every hour count by taking the following five steps:
- Remember the high cost of meetings.
- Always have an agenda, and stick to it!
- Have a skilled chairperson, running the meeting
- Practice the art of taking great notes
- Learn to use decision matrix
more information about our management training courses visit the Corporate Coach Group website