It’s widely known that meetings are one of the biggest time killers in the business environment. The web site Salary.com (IBM) has been making surveys about time waste at work and has been showing that meetings are one of the top reasons.
The best way to plan and organize an effective meeting is to pay attention on some key points:
- Before to arrange a meeting, make sure that you can not solve the issue Just going to the desks of some of your colleagues. Believe it or not, I have already participate in uncountable meetings with more than 6 people to talk about an issue that would be solved just going to talk to 2 or 3 people on their desks. Which means that daily issues must be solved on a daily basis, just going to talk to the right people. Talking to, or calling, the right people certainly will simplify and speed up the work.
- Make sure to invite the key persons, and just them. How many times I saw meetings that had so many people that did not even have a place for all of them to sit. Inviting too many people, including the “wrong” people or people that are not supposed to be there, is a sure formula for unproductive meeting, taking people’s time, creating so many side conversations, and making very difficult for exposing the subject and achieve the goals of the meeting.
- Make clear, previously, the objectives of the meeting. I was invited to uncountable meetings that the objective was not really clear, only the subject. So, pay attention: to state the subject does not mean to state the goal. A meeting can be informative, deliberative, for planning, for evaluation, for brainstorming or even for monitorization. So, make very clear not just the subject, but the goal.
- Make sure to provide, previously, all the information needed for the attendant to contribute during the meeting. This means that, if you want that any decision will be taken by any group of people, give them, previously, all the information they need to be aware of and ponder enough, so, during the meeting, they will be prepared to take the decision.
- Set the duration of the meeting, putting the start time and end time. Make a good planning . Simulate, mentally, the time for each subject. For this to work, during the meeting, must be controlled the time, giving the right pace, so that it can be used only the programmed time.
- Ask for those who cannot attend, to send a substitute by delegation, especially if the meeting is deliberative; making it clear which decisions must be made.
- Book the room. Remember to respect the rules of your organization for booking a room, and make the reservation with a timely manner to avoid unexpected issues.
- Send the meeting invitation. Do the meeting invitation, listing the key points it was previously described here. At the end of the invitation, ask for collaboration to arrive in time for the meeting to fulfill its goal. If you want you can use some start times unusual, fleeing the full hours, e.g.: instead of starting at 11: 00, why not 11: 07h, instead of starting at 16:30, why not 16: 16h. This, undoubtedly, calls everyone’s attention to the concern with time. Preferably, use the standard method of your Organization for sending meeting invitation, that probably is via system or software.
Very often we see in the companies, instead of professional meetings, events that are more like a group of lost people, with no clear purpose and no goals. Very far from the well prepared and skillfully led meetings that should be, mainly in the big multinational companies. So, follow the right steps and create successful meetings.