This is probably an unusual topic for our newsletter. Usually we are focused on accounting and financial management topics. Lately though, I have been thinking about the number of meetings that I attend. You know the drill, team meetings, project management meetings, task force meetings, board meetings, meetings to prepare for the board meeting, etc. I know meetings have a value but some definitely have greater value than others. Earlier in my career my day was packed full of meetings and when that happened my only time to “get productive work done” was early in the mornings, over lunch or in the evening. I have to admit, during those times I was not a very active participant in meetings. Can you relate? Recently I read there is an average of 11 million business meetings each day. As a finance director, in many meetings I start calculating the cost of the meeting, the salaries of the individuals sitting around the table, anyone else with me?
In recent years I have been very conscious of scheduling meetings and working to make them productive and effective, not a time drainer. It seems like it is hard to just stop and take a minute to think about the common sense approach to meetings, it is easier to just schedule the meeting. Here are some simple reminders:
- Ensure there is a purpose for the meeting. Not just have a meeting because we haven’t had one in a while.
- Invite only individuals that are directly impacted by the purpose.
- Set a clear agenda and distribute it ahead of time.
- Set an expectation of coming to the meeting prepared with a review of reports, thoughts and action items.
- Start and end the meeting on time. Set a culture of no latecomers allowed to the meeting.
- Assign a time keeper and a note taker.
- Ban electronic devices from the meetings (unless, of course, it is a virtual meeting).
- Assign action items and expected completion dates.
- Post the notes from the meeting for all team members to review, those in the meeting and others that might have a peripheral interest in the discussions of the meeting.
Hopefully following these simple reminders will help make the meetings you lead productive and efficient. You can move on from thinking about the wasted dollars sitting around the table all the while also daydreaming about your next vacation!