By: Tevin Smith
According to the National Statistics Council the average American employee spends about 37% of their time in meetings discussing various business issues. With so much time invested in these meetings it’s vital for business leaders to plan and execute effective meetings. Efficient meetings save time by allowing participants to get back to their work quicker, they also save money by enabling employees to reach new alternatives and solutions faster.
There are three important elements of planning successful meetings business leaders must consider:
- Is a meeting necessary?
- What type of meeting is necessary?
- When is the best time for a meeting?
Is a meeting necessary? We have all been in meetings simultaneously contemplating what we will have for lunch or if we have remembered to unplug the iron. Calling unnecessary meetings is a quick way to decrease employee morale and lose the trust of those you count on to deliver results.
Researching and analyzing should be done prior to a meeting. Once these activities are completed, it may then be necessary to discuss the findings in a meeting. This way valuable time is not wasted on tasks that are better completed individually. Meetings should be reserved for sharing information or advice, clarifying an issue, sharing concerns, or when your group feels a meeting is necessary. Keeping these best practice guidelines in mind will lead to more productive meetings and increased morale among employees.
The most common reasons to meet is to solve problems, make decisions, or to report information. Problem-solving meetings enable participants to identify particular situations that need improvement or development. Since the purpose of these meetings is to come up with new ideas they are usually discussion-oriented. In decision-making meetings participants are asked to reach a final decision from previously developed alternatives. These meetings require coordination and planning to keep people focused, and to ensure that a full range of opinions have been contemplated. The purpose of information-reporting meetings is to update people on the status quo or alert them to anticipated or planned events. These meetings are often a forum for making announcements, giving feedback, and providing progress reports.
Arguably one of the most important factors of planning and executing a successful meeting is timing. The right timing will create an atmosphere conducive to achieving the end goal of the meeting. The three optimum times for meetings are: one hour after you start work, immediately following lunch, and just before the end of the day. Early mornings tend to be the best time for decision-making or problem-solving meetings, most people are fresh in the morning and often more productive. When meetings are held in the early afternoon following lunch, participants mornings are free to prepare and they aren’t constantly peeking at their watches wondering when lunch is. Another good time for a meeting is at the end of the day. Tired employees are usually more relaxed, if there’s a somewhat contentious issue that needs to be discussed a time when employees are most relaxed will be best.
With over 11 million meetings held each day in the United States alone, leaders who plan efficient meetings save time, reduce cost, increase productivity, and morale among employees. With such far reaching positive implications, it is time business leaders put more planning and effort into effective meetings.
Tevin Smith is a guest writer for KRS Consulting. Tevin has a passion for small business and seeks to illuminate issues that promote productivity, growth, and sustainability of business. Contact Tevin Smith by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.