You should spend less time in meetings and more time driving results. Follow these four tips to make your meetings more efficient.
When you’re running a high-performing team, one of the most valuable assets you’ve got is time. And so much of our time gets consumed by worthless activities, the most worthless being meetings that don’t have a purpose and aren’t efficient. So I’d like to offer some techniques for running your meetings more efficiently, helping you focus on the right key sets of metrics, and then managing by exception. You should spend less time in meetings and more time driving results.
First, share information ahead of time. Send documents out to people well in advance of the meeting and set a clear expectation that that information will be reviewed before people come into the room. And then hold people to that standard when they come to the meeting. Simply ask, “Has everybody reviewed the information that was sent out?” And if enough people haven’t reviewed it, you should adjourn the meeting and reschedule. Start setting that tone for people that this is an expectation. When we send stuff out in advance, it’s going to be reviewed so we can be efficient with our time when we’re together.
Second, define the meeting purpose ahead of time when you invite people. Make sure you’re going to have the right players in the room and make sure they bring the right information. If you’re not going to have the key players or the information won’t be ready, reschedule the meeting. Holding the meeting anyway will be a frustrating waste of time. Only talk about major variances and focus on the metrics that are out of line. Forget all the ones that are meeting expectations and think about how you can solve for the variances that are appearing.
Next, the 80/20 rule is absolutely in play as you approach your meetings. There are only a few metrics or a few projects that really matter and are going to drive your results, and you should spend the vast majority of your time on that small number of projects. Review your standing meetings. Take a step back and ask, “Is that meeting still serving a purpose?” If it’s not, you should end the meeting and stop having it.
And lastly, in terms of meeting efficiency, if a decision is to be made, ensure everyone in the meeting knows what was decided and communicate the decision immediately to the rest of the organization. You can’t have people walking out with a lack of clarity on what the decision was. Nor can you have a meeting where you make a decision and you don’t let people know what you want them to do.
So be efficient with your meetings. Time is precious. Focus on what matters. Manage by exception. Be clear about the purpose. Make your decisions and communicate them so the team can focus on having impact.
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