For organizations to excel in their businesses, they need to take sound strategic decisions. Gone are the days where one person used to make decisions and others blindly abided by them. Today, in most cases, no organizational activity is complete and no decision is made without conducting meetings with active employee participation.
The negative side of this is that sometimes meetings can go on for long hours without any output or decision being made. And if such meetings are repeated again and again, the main purpose of the meetings gets diluted and employees stop taking them seriously. Such meetings are a complete waste of everybody’s time as the desired outcomes are not achieved at the end of discussions.
So how do we make our meetings more productive?
Here are a few suggestions:
Make meetings more inclusive: Employees feel good about being included in important meeting, in which their opinions are solicited. By participating in decision making, they feel more responsible about achieving the company’s goals. This also increases employee loyalty and enhances performance as they develop a sense of ownership not only towards their work but also towards the company. However, avoid calling in employees just for the sake of involving them.
Avoid time-wasters: Experts have identified ‘prime time-wasters’ associated with meetings. Casual and irrelevant chitchat, drifting from core discussion topics, incomplete paperwork or statistical data, waiting for late-comers, are a few prime time-wasters in meetings. Management should take care to avoid these time-wasters.
Have a concrete agenda: Prior to the decision to call for a meeting, managers should ask themselves if a meeting is required at all or can the same outcome can be achieved through an e-mail or a telephonic conversation.
In case there is a requirement for a meeting, then managers should be clear about the points to be discussed or the agenda of the meetings. The agenda should be distributed to all the attendees so that they are aware of the discussion points and come prepared for the same. Managers should avoid deviating from the agenda at any point during the meeting. Having a chairperson ensures this.
Evaluate the attendees list: When preparing a list of attendees, managers need to take care to invite only those who are connected with the issue and be doubly sure that they don’t leave out anyone who is important and whose participation matters. This will make meetings meaningful.
Remember that employees need to take time out of their work schedule to attend meetings. They are bound to find it highly frustrating if the purpose of the meeting is not clear. Make everyone’s time worthwhile by keeping the above discussed points in mind.
Do share your thoughts on the same.