Every day in corporate America there are roughly 71 million meetings taking place. It is estimated that time spent in meetings costs approximately $550 billion each year. That is of course if you assume that all time spent in meetings is time wasted.
In truth, there are good meetings and bad meetings. Some may argue that all meetings are bad meetings, but maybe that’s just because your experience has all been bad.
If you want to improve the quality of meetings in your company, I recommend running them more frequently, and making them much shorter.
Elements of a good meeting:
- Limited number of attendees – only those with direct input to contribute should be involved, one person from each department who can relay the messages back to their team is fine.
- Clear agenda that every attendee has seen before they get there – don’t waste time getting people up to speed.
- Review of actions from the last meeting – make sure that progress is moving forward on or ahead of schedule.
- Set clear actions to be taken between now and the next meeting – make sure everyone knows what is expected by the next time you meet.
- No more than 30 minutes – after 30 minutes you will lose people’s interest, 15 is even better.
Everyone there should participate. If a question comes up, each person should get a chance to provide input or solutions. If there is disagreement among the group, make a decision before you end the meeting. If more time is needed, set a follow up meeting with the two people championing opposing views and one mediator who is qualified to make a final decision.
And always end on time!