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iManage, Issue #007 -- Are meetings costing you money? 3 Steps to Better Meetings in Your Business
February 07, 2010

Hi



Are Meetings Costing You Money?




In my consultancy work, I often meet employees who express frustration at the amount of time that is wasted through unproductive meetings. Poor meeting etiquette can become the norm in a business and it is hard to change. Yet if you work out the wage cost per attendee, you can see that it is a very expensive activity. And if one person is ten minutes late for a meeting and keeps five other people waiting, already you have lost an hour of company time.

Here are three steps to help you change attitudes and habits so that meetings in your company become more effective and less of a drain on your budget.

Step 1: Take Stock

Meetings tend to involve a lot of employees in a business, so send out a questionnaire or run focus groups to find out the extent of the problem. How much time per head are people spending on meetings on a weekly basis? Do they need to attend? How effective are they? Senior managers are often surprised at the degree of frustration around meetings expressed by employees at a lower level.

Gather your facts and put some measures on the amount of time spent at meetings, so you can work out the cost involved.

Step 2: Draft and Agree Meeting Etiquette

Get your employees to contribute to how you can improve the situation. Then they are more likely to respect and follow any changes that you make. Guidelines might include:

  • restrictions on the numbers attending meetings and their duration
  • appointment of a chairperson/minute taker/time keeper for every meeting
  • agenda and minutes for every meeting
  • adherence to start/finish times
  • set up of a meeting minutes mailing list for those employees who have an interest but don't need to attend a meeting

Step 3: Embed the Change

Whatever method you used to gather information in the first instance, repeat it after you have launched the new procedure. Measure how much of an improvement has occurred. For example, is there less time spent at meetings? do attendees feel they are more productive? Have any metrics changed as a result of more effective meetings?

Publicise the cost savings and other benefits that are being achieved to reduce the chances of falling back into bad habits. Give positive feedback to employees for supporting the initiative.

And finally, remember that it is normal for people to resist change. They will go along with the change at different speeds. As a change agent you will need to be supportive, encouraging and aware of how people are reacting to the change. It can feel like one step forward and two steps back. So keep in touch with key players and get involved where necessary to keep the change on track.

Ann Halloran http://www.practical-management-skills.com

Practical management skills advice for business owners and managers. Get best practice tips on a wide range of topics such as time management, motivation, communication skills, presentation skills, performance appraisal and more.

Content based on 30 years management/consultancy experience gained in a wide range of business sectors.

Download the Time Management Audio Guide and Workbook for more in-depth advice on time management in the workplace and at home.

Click on Time Management Tips to find out more on my website.


Ann Halloran

http://www.practical-management-skills.com

Practical management skills advice for business owners and managers. Get best practice tips on a wide range of topics such as time management, motivation, communication skills, presentation skills, performance appraisal and more.

Content based on 30 years management/consultancy experience gained in a wide range of business sectors.

Contact Me.

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