In a world where innovation is discussed in relation to every organizational area, why do meetings remain stuck in the 19th century?
We know that meetings, whether face-to-face or virtual, are often necessary, but how can we justify those that fail to produce useful results, wasting the time of all involved?
Here is a specific example of the kind of complaints our clients bring to us:
“In our team meetings we almost never manage to discuss all the topics on the agenda. This situation is frustrating for all. What can we do?”
First of all, congratulations! At least you have an agenda! Now let´s see how you can adjust the contents to the available time.
Which of these strategies have you tried?
- Prioritize agenda items. Give preference to those topics that require a decision.
- Eliminate reports. Do not include topics that are merely informational such as reports, when no substantive discussion or decision is required. Find other ways to share that information.
- Prepare supporting materials. Ensure that those who are going to present topics prepare and share the relevant information ahead of time. If the materials are not ready, postpone the topic until another meeting.
- Define the expected result. Each agenda item should be linked to an outcome that justifies the time invested. Examples of expected results include: generate options, define criteria, make a decision, etc.
- Time control. Assign time limits for each item (be a bit generous!) and then respect them.
- Select participants with care. Convene only those who have a direct responsibility and/or knowledge relevant to the topics on the agenda.
If, despite having introduced all of these “innovations” into your meeting culture, the time is still not sufficient to discuss all the items on the agenda, consider the possibility of increasing the frequency or the duration of the meetings. Do not continue to put 10 kilos of potatoes in a 5-kilo bag!