How To Increase Productivity Of Business Meetings
The success of a modern company depends to a large extent on the efficiency of business meetings. An ordinary employee spends about 3-5% of the working time on such events, while top managers have to spend at least 50% of the total number of working hours on meetings. For maximum productivity of meetings, it is necessary to use proven solutions.
Systematization of meetings is the first step towards success
In the course of their activities, employees of each company have to organize meetings of a different nature. In order to increase their productivity, it is necessary to make a list of regular meetings and develop procedures for each of them. The procedures should include the information on the frequency of meetings, the place of assembly, the list of problems and tasks under consideration.
Meetings are conventionally grouped into:
- Global (held regularly: annually, quarterly);
- Operational (aimed at solving current problems);
- Unplanned (conducted when problems arise, if discuss of unexpected projects is needed).
Experts recommend thinking carefully about your planned activities in order to minimize sudden meetings. Such talks do not only interfere with the work of several people at the same time but also create an unfavorable environment, excitement, and nervousness, reducing productivity.
Correct defining of the meeting target is a must
Managers often make a serious mistake by organizing meetings to share information. Modern means of communication allow providing information to recipients in other ways, for example, via mailing lists.
The meeting should have a specific target aimed at making decisions: the introduction of new projects, the signing of cooperation agreements, supply maintenance, etc. To accomplish the task, you should not invite more than 10-15 employees to the meeting. A large number of participants increases the risk of violation of the general constructive tone, and the emergence of disputes that adversely affect the quality of the event.
Preliminary preparation and strict compliance with procedures
Each participant must be ready to make decisions. Managers who are not fully informed do not have the right to be present. The preparatory stage should include:
- Familiarization with the case
- Assessment of the situation
- Writing down conclusions
- Making a list of preliminary decisions.
It is desirable that a moderator, a person carefully monitoring compliance with the rules and the sequence of decision-making, be present at the meeting. A leader, a facilitator with great experience can act as a moderator but it is still better than some other person would play this role. Many employees experience a natural fear of authorities which does not allow them to fully express themselves.
Optimization of the business meeting duration
Consideration of projects and endless discussions for several hours can result in wasting a great deal of time. To use the time with maximum efficiency, it is necessary to reduce the duration of meetings.
From one to two hours is enough time for regular meetings. Otherwise, participants will not be able to assess the situation rationally. Fatigue and an overflow of information will hamper them.
Skillful division of responsibility
Several people participate in the meetings at the same time. “To-do” lists must be provided for each of them. If one employee performs all the tasks, the presence of the others will become useless. A manager can present an opening remark; authors or good experts in such topics should speak about particular projects.
It is desirable that the leader expresses his/her own opinion on the discussed issues in the last turn. This will eliminate the risk of demotivation for other participants in the meeting. The last speaker should not allow public condemnation and punishment, which not only reduce the victim’s interest in the discussion but also create a strained atmosphere for the rest of the participants. Such problems should be solved in private.
Preparation of reporting documentation
Well-prepared papers will help assess the situation in the cold light of a day. They can be the basis for planning the next meetings. According to the recorded results, it is possible to determine productive measures and identify errors to avoid them during the next meetings.
The moderator should be responsible for the preparation of the report. He/she is tasked with the quick preparation of the document. Each participant should have it. They must receive the papers no later than the next working day.
It is impossible to streamline the productivity of meetings in one or two times. Many companies need at least six months to achieve their goals. It is due to the high complexity of developing and implementing programs for efficient group processes. Managers often sabotage events. Some participants also oppose new rules. Lack of experience leads to mistakes, but with the increase in practical skills, the situation is fully normalized; the work of the company is simplified and improved.