HR BLOG: Is this meeting really necessary?

Have you ever stopped to ask, “Why are we having this meeting?”. If the only answer presented to you is “We always meet at this time every week.”, it’s time to put meetings under the microscope.

If you’re looking at ways to improve productivity you’re not alone. Reports tell us that UK workers typically lose 13 days a year due to unproductive meetings. In fact, these meetings are so unproductive that 12% of office workers admit to having fallen asleep!

Most meetings are planned with the best intentions. However, meeting to talk about an issue or topic with no structure or agenda in place will not produce the results you are looking for. The participants will also likely become frustrated that issues don’t get resolved and projects don’t progress, despite all the time spent meeting about them.

So whether it’s a meeting tradition that started on day one of your business which needs reviewing now your business has grown, or you can’t track down your senior staff due to them always meeting, we can help.

How to stop meeting for meetings’ sake

Before arranging or committing to your next meeting, ask yourself the following five questions.

1.What is the main objective?
Defining a clear objective and sharing it with participants ahead of time helps everyone to understand the main purpose of the meeting before they attend. This can aid meeting prep and can cut down time spent telling everyone why they were invited.

2.Who needs to attend?
It is best to keep meeting attendees down to a minimum. Invite only those whose input is required as they can subsequently share important information to interested parties. If the meeting objective was to obtain a decision, make sure the decision maker can attend.

3.When and where?
Try to avoid known busy times and steer clear of Monday first thing or Friday last thing if you want the full attention of your attendees. If you’re holding a meeting over breakfast or lunchtime, catering will prevent any bad decisions being made on an empty stomach.

If idea generation is the objective of your meeting, a new location can get employees thinking differently. Try outside if it’s a nice day or even offsite once in a while.

4.What is the agenda?
An objective sets out why you are meeting. But an agenda with a clear time limit ensures you make the most of it. A meeting plan or agenda allocates time slots for all topics of discussion and can reduce the risk of overrunning or wasting time. Why not try meetings standing up or assigning someone with a stopwatch to be in charge of sticking to the agenda.

5.When to follow up?
Most meetings require actions or follow up. Without this it won’t be long before you are meeting again to discuss the same topic. A list of actions should be decided upon during the meeting and shared with all participants along with any important notes. Setting deadlines or committing to follow up dates will improve the likeliness of those actions being completed.

Need further ideas on transforming your meeting culture?

Applying this five-point checklist will cut down unnecessary meetings in your business and give valuable time back to you and your workforce. If you’d like further ideas on how to transform your meetings and increase engagement give us a call. Our experience is varied, from tiny start-ups to established brands, across all industries.