Monday, June 22, 2009
Save Time and Money!
You are working on an important project, and then up pops a new window, completely derailing your work. There it is: the dreaded Outlook reminder! You have a meeting in 15 minutes … 10 minutes … 5 minutes.
As the people of a global company that encourages input and collaboration, we all spend a lot of our time in meetings. Yet, many of those meetings seem like a colossal waste of time! Research shows that 30 percent of meeting time is considered unproductive.
Believe it or not, most meetings can be completed in just 45 minutes! That’s the perfect timeframe – according to research, the average meeting-goer loses focus after 41 minutes and starts planning his grocery list.
Be prepared …
* What’s the scope of your meeting? Answer that with just one, clear sentence! If you can’t, do more research first – you’re not ready for a meeting yet!
* Invite the right people, and only the right people.
* Respect the local business hours of your attendees.
* Write out a clear agenda and assign time to each item. Share it ahead of time – and don’t accept last-minute additions.
* Share support materials early, so attendees can review them before the call. If your materials aren’t ready, reschedule!
* If you are using a PowerPoint presentation, keep it short, to the point and directly related to the scope of your meeting. Plan to spend about 5 minutes on each slide: for a 45-minute meeting, you should have only 9 content slides!
If you are leading the meeting …
* Wear a watch! Start and end on time, and stick to the timeline in your agenda.
* Your job is to facilitate. Ask someone else to take notes.
* Keep the meeting on track and on topic. Bring the conversation back on topic by interrupting, referring to the point, summarizing the discussion, and moving on.
* Limit discussion, and agree to disagree when appropriate. Aim for consensus, not unanimity.
* Every action item should be assigned to a specific attendee, with a deadline!
If you are attending the meeting …
* Do you need to be there? If you don’t, decline the invite.
* Review materials before the call begins! If you didn’t, decline the invite.
* Pay attention! It’s tempting to answer email or IM. Don’t! Your focus will speed the meeting along.
At the end of the meeting …
* Recap the discussion and the action items.
* Be friendly! Socializing is important, too. Just save it for the end of the call!
* Take two minutes to evaluate the meeting and check in with participants about what could have gone better
After the meeting …
* Immediately write and send out a meeting summary. Capture all decisions and action items.
* Follow up! Make sure action items are on track. If the actions are done, it’s like the meeting never happened.