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Your business needs fewer, better meetings

Posted on June 18th, 2012

Categories: Business, Management

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Do you ever find yourself in back to back meetings? Maybe even meetings about meetings? We’ve all been there, desperately trying to action key tasks within our business roles, but struggling with time because we just spend so much time in meetings. Think of the impact of this on your business efficiency and costs.

It’s time to nip it in the bud. Spending that much time in meetings is simply not productive. But how do you go about doing that?

1. Focus your meetings on decision making.
If a meeting doesn’t result in a decision being made, then there should be no meeting – simple. That decision could be a critical decision such as a major investment or perhaps a day-to-day decision such as tooling of resources for a business pitch. Either way, the meeting needs to have a defined outcome, otherwise you are stabbing in the dark and wasting valuable time. And what if a business decision becomes re-opened? Push back on it, and focus on the purpose of your current meeting.

2. Make your meetings effective.
So you now have a clear defined objective for your meeting. But how do you keep the meeting on track and get the most value from it? Establish requirements for meeting preparation at least 24 hours before the meeting; if your colleagues or employees are well briefed and tooled, they will be able to contribute much more to the meeting. Create a meeting agenda around your goals; a well designed agenda will keep your meeting on track. Do not include any unnecessary points in your agenda; highlight key decisions and summary of points reached by the team. Ensure that each meeting’s actions are formally recorded in a decision log. This should mean that those responsibilities get allocated to team members with deadlines attached, which will increase the pace of decisions and improve execution.

3. Ensure the right people attend.
Remember how meetings need to be focused on decision making? Well, too often business meeting attendees are not part of the decision making process, in which case their presence is redundant and your business is not using its resource in the most effective way. If they are not part of that process, they shouldn’t be there. They can always be sent meeting notes after the event if necessary. Equally at Board level, you should ensure that everybody present has a clearly defined role. Clarifying these decision roles means that decisions are far more likely to stick.

In conclusion, cut the superfluous meetings, and make the important meetings count. Focus your meetings on decisions that need to be made, design a meeting agenda to keep the meeting on track, ensure that actionable points come out of the meeting, and that only the relevant people are in attendance. Follow this guide and you will make better decisions and faster decisions, alleviating the pressure on your business resources.

Ascend Twentyone can help you to increase your business efficiency and effectiveness, leading to more productive results. Get in touch today to find out how Ascend Twentyone can help improve your bottom line.

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