Newsroom HomeBlogsStoriesSoundtrack ProjectNewsroom ArchivesChamber Home Page

Think Twice Before Calling That Meeting



If being asked to show up at a meeting fills you with dread, you’re not alone.  Forty-nine percent of workers surveyed said that unproductive meetings were a huge productivity drainer for them.  Seventy percent of executives reported that most of the meetings they attend are “a waste of time.”  When asked the cause of their frustration, it’s probably the same as yours: boring, stressful, lack of a clear agenda, and no follow-through on the topics or plans that were discussed. 

Call me crazy, but I actually like a good meeting! A good meeting is when participants feel they have learned or accomplished something worthwhile. In addition, a good meeting can be a really great way to foster teamwork, inspiration, and even, dare I say, enjoyment.  However, it does take some know-how, practice and a bit of “finesse” to make this happen.

I recently led a workshop with a large executive team to talk about this very problem. Besides a certain sense of irony – a meeting about how to have better meetings - it proved to be very insightful for the participants and highly effective for improving future productivity. By creating a “meeting policy” and getting everyone on the same page for understanding the expectations, roles and rules for their meetings, we were able to reenergize the team and address an issue that had been a major source of unspoken frustration for many of them.   

Effective meetings don’t just happen; certain skills and practice are needed for them to be both efficient and effective. Here are a few of the tips I shared with the client on how to make their company’s meetings more productive:

Establish and enforce some ground rules both for calling a meeting and for attending a meeting.  (That’s right, the attendee also has a key role and responsibility for improving a meeting's outcome.)

Qualify your meeting.  Is a face-to-face, sit-down meeting best or necessary? Can the desired results be achieved with a memo, email, phone call or conference call?  Can you communicate a clear reason for having or attending the meeting so others will want to show-up?

Plan for efficiency.  Set up the meeting with the mindset that you're going to get something done. That means having a written agenda (if it's in your head, you haven't thought it through enough), confirming that all key people can attend, and sending them any materials or memos they'll need to be familiar with ahead of time.

Learn to be quick and decisive. Set definite start and stop times, and stick to it. Remember that you are asking people to take time out of their day that was already probably too full of things to do, so get to the point and wrap up on time. As you do draw the meeting to a close, get a consensus for any "next step" actions or assignments. For the meeting to be successful, everyone has to agree on and understand what's necessary to move forward.

Follow-up is part of the process. Within 24 hours, e-mail attendees a recap of the notes, their respective responsibilities for action, and the timetables you agreed upon. This kind of follow-up and accountability is a great way to turn what would've been a waste of time into a commitment towards getting a project finished.

Learn to be a good attendee.  As I mentioned, not everything falls to the meeting planner – part of the responsibility for good meetings lies in the attendees. If you are coming to a meeting, RSVP ahead of time, review the agenda, and show up prepared and at least five minutes early. Then once things begin, pay attention; using your Blackberry, crunching on ice or candy, or even whispering isn't just rude and irritating; these distractions can hamper the whole process.

Taking the time to plan for a successful meeting will probably take a little more effort on the front-end, but it can certainly save lots of time (and frustration) in the end.   Isn’t that what real productivity is all about?  Knowing how to do the right things, in the best way and at the right time?

-- Kimberly Medlock 

Kimberly Medlock is a common sense productivity expert, helping organizations across North America get better results quicker and easier, with less time, energy and hassle.  If you would like to know more about increasing your productivity, contact her at 662-893-7933 or Kimberly@KimberlyMedlock.com.
Posted: 10/2/2012 11:04:27 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: blog, business, chamber, coworkers, meetings, memphis, office, organization, planning, productivity, small, waiting, work




Comments
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment Subscribe



Is three = four ? (true/false)

SMALL BUSINESS
Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

CONTRIBUTORS
VOSS GRAHAM
Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

OBSIDIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

JOEL MYERS
Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

TOM PEASE
Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

LORI TURNER-WILSON
Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

INFERNO
Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit www.creativeinferno.com.

FISHER PHILLIPS LLP
Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit www.fisherphillips.com.

PARAGON BANK
Finance
Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.



Syndication

RSS