Making Meetings Work
By Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson
Meetings are the perfect place to waste time, so if you want to be productive, make sure that yours are properly organised and relevant.
Meetings are often dominated by a standard agenda, with the same issues being discussed month after month. The same ten items roll around like baggage on a conveyor belt. Sure, there’s a place for standing items on an agenda, but they don’t generally require endless discussion, especially if meeting papers have been circulated in advance. Try tabling these items and only discuss them if attendees have particular issues to...
...raise. Report by exception rather than by rote.
Having covered the basic business of the meeting, always try to include fresh items for discussion. It’s best to try to get to these before the meeting is exhausted or out of time, so the chairman should set a brisk pace.
Here are some tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of your meetings:
- Use meetings constructively and use the time effectively. Get the issues on the table but minimise the time spent solving problems as this can be done elsewhere between the few people affected.
- Control the agenda. Consider the objective of every meeting. What do you hope to get out of it and why?
- Minimise box ticking and the listing and reporting of results and minutes. People should have read these, so only discuss the matters arising, rather than reinventing the wheel. Instead, use the opportunity to maximise action points that will drive the company forward.
- Keep it simple. Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. If you can’t get a straight answer, carry on asking. Don't be bamboozled by science, technology or numbers. Try to keep the information simple, so that everybody understands... continued on page two >