Hand on your heart, are you running between meetings that is booked end to end whole week?
Or maybe you are in your office with the door closed connected in various meetings, coffee in a thermos to be able to snatch a cup now and then, work you have to do meanwhile participating in the meetings?
Maybe somewhat exaggerated but I experience more and more a tendency that companies I work with is getting closer to this scenario, so easy to invite many people to online meetings to discuss some matter or yet another reporting session.
As it's "no cost involved" you don't have to consider when inviting!
Honestly, how many haven't participated in a meeting feeling that the subject not really concern you or that you haven't anything to contribute with?
Hence you are passively listening into the meeting and trying to get some work done in the same time, doing some mails and help us god if we forget to mute the microphone so that the others hear us working on the key pad.
How clean is your conscience, how often do you think about the purpose, what the participants should contribute with, agenda, what the meeting should achieve and what result you want to get in the end?
Or to think through what participants that should attend due to that they contribute to reach the target of the meeting and who should attend only to spread information?
What information do I want them to share, think about that a human only can absorb approximately 30% of the information given to us.
This mean that next level only will get 9% of the original information sustainable, what parts of the information is vital for the second layer to get and what is nice to have information?
To revise what purpose the meeting have is the base for coming parts and also defines what type of meeting we are about to invite to.
How to the meeting contribute to the company strategy and the daily business is a good question to address when you define the purpose of the meeting.
Is the purpose to make decisions, solve problems or inform for example, then it's different forms of meetings and will demand different set up of the meeting.
Decision meeting, what decisions do the meeting have to result in?
Work meeting, what is it we should work with during the meeting, is it new ideas, solution on a problem, planning a project etc?
Information meeting, what should the meeting inform about, what information really need to be communicated and who are affected of the information?
Intention with input in this case is to review what that need to be prepared prior the meeting, what should be brought into the meeting and by what function.
Independent of meeting type you should think about what input is needed to obtain the expected result, what preparations is needed before to get the most out of the meeting.
Decision meetings, What facts is needed and who bring it to the meeting. What preparations is needed from whom, what pediment for decision will be needed.
Work meeting, what do we need to bring to the meeting and who prepare what. If it's a problem solving meeting maybe everyone need to review the problem with their own groups to review impact of the problem.
Information meeting, What should the meeting inform about, is the context of the information in the meeting, is the information logical throughout the meeting. Who is it that need to be informed and who are deciding the content of the information.
What target do you have with the meeting?
Prior the meeting you should set the targets what you want to achieve with the meeting, the targets are depending on the meeting type but vital to give a thorough thought before inviting to the meeting.
In all types there should be a target to also reflect over the meeting, did we reach the target we had set, do we reach the result we expect?
Decision meeting, what issues do we need to decied about to get progress, what decisions are less important and can be last on the agenda is things to consider. How the decisions should be executed and if the decisions concerns people not attending the meeting, how to secure that the consequences is handled and whom handle the result/consequence of the decision.
Work meeting, what should we achieve with the work, should it be preparation for a decision, solve a problem or maybe only generate a number of ideas. How to continue need to be a part of the target.
Information meeting, What do we want the participant to learn from the meeting, having in mind that we only manage to absorb 30% of the information. How much is a must for the participant to know after the meeting and if it should be spread afterwards how do we give the participants the best possible means to forward the most vital information to the next layer.
With result I mean what will happen after the meeting, which result I want to achieve by having the meeting.
Decision meeting, how do you secure that the decisions is carried out and that the consequence of the decision also in handled, do we need to follow up regularly or is it enough to follow it up in next meeting.
How is questions/decisions that is parked handled, who secure that these will be prepared and decided in next meeting.
Work meetings, the result of the work need in some way to be of use to te organisation, who follow up that the next step is taken and what the result is used to, should it be input for a decision meeting it need to be put on that agenda.
Information meeting, I'd say that this generally is where the least thought of the result is put in many organisations.
But to think about the sustainable result of the meeting should be to secure that the investment done by having the meeting pays off.
If for example informing about the company financial situation to all employees, what do you expect to achieve?
Is it that everyone should feel safe that the company is a solid workplace or is it something more, do anyone need to know the exact numbers for example?
Meetings as an investment som investering
To summarize I want to emphasize that I by no means state that above is every detail you should consider or that it fits everyone and every meeting!
But my firm opinion is that you should think of meetings as an investment in the company, realize that it's a quite big cost of the operation invested in meetings.
If you look upon meetings as an investment above information is something worth reflecting about and have a thought through approach towards for ones company, association or operation.
Together with a well defined meeting culture the potential that the investment you do in meetings will pay off in a much better way and the result will increase big times.
If you want more information, just exchange thoughts and ideas or if you would like us to help you work this through in your organisation you are more than welcome to contact us, please us the form below.
Note, above text is translated from swedish:
"I hereby approve to send me marketing material"
The text is not possible to adjust at the moment.
When I perform a workshop with for example a management team or steering committee everyone have to put Post It's on the wall with the meetings they invite to and that they participate in.
It's not seldom that the wall used is overloaded and more space is needed.
My experience is that may people in management position have at least 8-9 regular meetings every week, different intervals obviously, some daily and some monthly.
Approximately 25% of the week is spent on regular meetings and additionally 20-40% on non regular meetings depending on how the organisation looks.
Geographically spread organisations have usually a higher number due to the easiness to invite to a online meeting to discuss something.
Have to add that this numbers isn't scientifically proven, they are based on my experience that of course origins from teams that have realized the problem.
My set up when facilitating this type of workshop is that after listing all meetings start to review the meetings to define purpose, input, agenda, target and result wanted.
Below I will give some proposals on things to think about when inviting to a meeting but first we have to consider what meeting type we are inviting to.
I usually uses three categories for meetings:
Decision meetings, invited with purpose to decide in matters that cannot be decided on daily basis, ideal this is a very short meeting with high cadence.
Work meeting, something you invite to when a group need to work on something, might be to prepare a decision or brainstorming ideas, solve some problems, do some planning etc.
Then we have the information meetings, usually to spread some information important to others to take part of, the purpose can be to spread knowledge, increase fellowship, boost the company spirit and similar.
To think through what type of meeting we are inviting to is vital in order to define what purpose we have with the meeting, how we execute the meeting and what result we expect to achieve after the meeting.
Obviously this requires that the company have a well defined meeting culture, however that is another subject and workshop so that you will find in another article, the tips below is something everyone can utilize on their own independent of the company culture.
The agendan shouldn't only be a bunch of bullets sent out the the participants without deeper thought1
Often I see many that uses a ”standard agenda”, especially in regular meetings!
How do that contribute to secure a good result from the meeting, it can hardly be so that nothing changes over time or different subjects are more vital to handle in the meeting.
With agenda I mean instead is a approach that the one inviting to the meeting should have and questions to be asked prior every meeting depending on what type of meeting it is.
Decision meeting, what is needed to be decided must be clarified and if the participants is affected and are capable of contribute to all decision.
If not maybe you can divide the meeting so that decisions where all participants isn't needed is placed last on the agenda.
Obviously is that it should be clear how every participant can prepare themselves in the best way so that the decision can be made in a efficient way.
Work meeting, it's of essence to clarify what should be worded on in the meeting, what boundaries there is and give participants possibiltiy to prepare prior the meeting, for example by reviewing their own department/functions experience or requests on the matter.
Information meeting, of course the content need to be described in the agenda but also vital is to give the ones getting the information a reason to join the meeting with an open mind.
”Why should I listen to this, what's in int for me?”, this questions should be answered by the agenda so that everyone attending the meeting to get information will feel that they know what the meeting will give each one before joining.
Last but not least we have to think of who to invite to the meeting, whom should participate in this meeting.
The reason for me to have this last in order is that you should invite participants based on content, target and wanted result, not the other way around, participants should be able to contribute in the best way.
Many times you see companies that first look into who should participate, then making some quick agenda. To do it in this order will make it more difficult to set a clear target for the meeting.
Participants should be invited depending on what they are expected to contribute with but it's also important that the participant at the invitation is clear of the role they have and what is expected from that role.
Decision meeting, who the decision makers are must be clarified, who have the authority and responsibility to take the decision, if everyone is needed for all decisions need to be clarified or if the meeting includes adjunct functions/decision makers.
Should anyone be invited for information, in that case it has to be clear for that person what is expected, how the information received should be used and that they aren't expected to participate in the decision as such.
Are everyone that need/want make their opinion heard represented in any way and will this be a basis for the decision.
Work meeting, who can or must contribute in order to achieve the wanted result, how do we set up the team to secure the best result?
To achieve the optimal result you should consider the best mix of competences, personalities and experiences.
Information meeting, I often see the tendency to invite to many participants, many times to secure that no one feels left out.
But one should consider who really need the information to secure that progress can be achieved and the wanted result with the information can be reached.
And if the participants in the meeting are expected to share the information with others you should think of inviting the ones with the best qualifications to pass the information on.
What this participants should share must be clearly shown during the meeting and what expectations you have regarding the sharing must be understood by the participtants.
It should also be clear prior the meeting what aids the participant can use to share the information in order to be able to absorb the information in the most appropriate way.