There is nothing worse than the meeting that drags on aimlessly without apparent purpose, and without any outcome. Having our time hijacked by inefficient meetings should never happen.
The only reasons we should have structured meetings as opposed to ad hoc discussions and catch ups on the fly are:
- We need to work through something and need other people involved in the process
- We need to track accountability of one or more people (including ourselves)
- We need to advise others of something
Here are three typical meeting types that should suffice for most businesses:
- Management meeting
- Get your team together on a regular basis to address the most important matters in your business
- Have an agenda
- Make sure everyone comes prepared (they will if they know the agenda beforehand)
- Take minutes or keep a record of the actions to be followed up so you can make sure they’re done by the next meeting, or at least that progress is being made
- If something comes up in the meeting that prompts a more indepth discussion with two or more people, but not the whole group, then let them take that specific topic to another meeting just with them
- Make sure everyone contributes
- Don’t make it any longer than it needs to be
- One-on-one meeting
- Saves time rather than engaging the whole management team
- It enables you to take time out with your direct reports to provide direction, mentoring if need be, let them know how they’re going, and keep them focused on their big rocks
- It also gives them one-on-one time with you to get advice or direction or discuss ideas, which is important
- WIP meeting
- These meetings require most people involved in your core product or service delivery to be present
- Work in progress meetings are the way to track that you are making a product or delivering a service to the schedule promised to your clients. Has the packaging arrived from China? Is there a delay on sign off on the artwork? Is there a delay in completion of the service delivery? Do we need to reschedule any components? Do we need to notify any clients? Who is responsible for addressing these items? WIP meetings are usually held weekly and are essential to your team keeping production and delivery on track.
The key to all these is to have an agenda for all meetings so everyone knows the purpose of it, take notes or minutes so everyone can follow up, keep to the time you specify for it, and follow up to make sure actions have been addressed.
Nothing beats an efficient and effective meeting!