At every organisation, leaders often hold meetings with their colleagues for a variety of reasons. Meetings function as a vehicle for communication within companies and provide leaders with an avenue to “disseminate their vision, craft strategic plans and develop responses to challenges and opportunities impacting their businesses”.
As valuable as these arrangements can be, many meetings have also been interpreted as too time-consuming and a source of frustration for employees around the world. A recent Harvard Business Review survey conducted among more than 180 managers found that 71% of them found participating in meetings unproductive and inefficient.
How then can you, as a leader, help your colleagues to schedule more effective meetings within your company?
Prepare And Establish The Agenda Pre-Meeting
A research study conducted by MITSloan Management revealed that meetings have increased in length and frequency over the past 50 years, to the point where executives now spend an average of nearly 23 hours a week in meetings, up from less than 10 hours in the 1960s.
Setting objectives for a meeting before gathering your staff is one way to exercise responsible planning. This will help everyone to focus and identify the priority topics for the meeting. Emailing the topic-list out to your colleagues in advance will also allow everyone to be better informed about the meeting’s contents.
As such, leaders can schedule more effective meetings by preparing an agenda for the team earlier in time and reiterating the objectives at the meeting later.
Invite Only Those Who Really Need To Be There
While the saying “the more, the merrier” is used widely, it would be best to avoid applying that strategy when scheduling meetings within your organisation.
As a leader, make sure you invite only those who really need to be present at the meeting. Calling on all your employees to discuss an issue that may not be relevant to them could adversely affect the spirit of your scheduled meetings.
Bringing in colleagues who can wear multiple hats and keeping an eye out for plausible office politics are also some strategies leaders can employ when inviting individuals to a team meeting. This tactic will also allow leaders to schedule more effective meetings within their offices.
Set Clear Timelines For The Meeting
In a recent article published by Forbes.com, it was found that a lot of time was, in fact, being lost during meetings. A study also found that most meeting durations average between 31 to 60 minutes.
With that being said, not every meeting needs to be that long either. Simple discussions can be held within 10-15 minutes instead and establishing this fact into action can also help to save employees’ time.
Another article by Forbes.com also suggests including a timeline that allots a specific time period to each item on your agenda. Putting this breakdown of the meeting up “on a screen or whiteboard” will allow employees to see what else needs to be done within the meeting.
This can also help employees to stay on track and save their time when participating in meetings held within the office. As such, setting clear timelines can also help leaders to schedule more effective meetings in the future too.
Preparing and establishing a meeting’s agenda, inviting only employees who really need to be present and setting clear timelines for your staff are 3 strategies employers can adopt to schedule more effective meetings as a leader.
As the previous study established, “improving just one meeting per week can lead to significant benefits for the organisation while also contributing to the health and motivation of employees!”
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