3 tips to run effective meetings  

And use the time saved to do something else!

You arrive on time and the meeting starts 10 minutes late. There wasn’t an agenda so you’re not really sure what you’re there for. (You should have asked but you were too busy attending another meeting to check). It’s not clear who’s running the meeting as the loudest person seems to get all the air space. Several people in the meeting are multi-tasking or perhaps private messaging each other about why they’re there. They’re not really present though and are preoccupied by their phones and laptops which is distracting for the people who are contributing. You don’t say much because you feel unsure of what’s expected from you. Nothing is really decided, and the meeting finishes late. You’ve accumulated some actions that you won’t have time to complete because you’re off to another meeting that you’re already late for because this meeting overran. You know you’ll have to complete your actions outside of working hours (again) because the rest of the working week is filled with more meetings.

Sound familiar?

Ineffective meetings are exhausting. They also waste huge amounts of time, energy and money. A survey1 of 6,500 people from the USA, UK, and Germany found that among the 19 million meetings that were observed, ineffective meetings cost UK businesses an estimated £41 billion.

Too many meetings and poorly organised meetings are not just a waste of your time, they can cause stress and frustration about your own work and tasks, as well as negative feelings about colleagues. They can also have a damaging impact on moral, motivation and productivity across a whole organisation.

Meetings are important and can be really beneficial if run well.

Effective meetings are important. They inspire and drive people to do better. When well-managed, meetings can be an effective way to debate and discuss, collaborate and co-operate, motivate and inspire and accelerate progress.

My 3 tips for more effective meetings are;

1.Be clear on the purpose of the meeting

If it’s your meeting, be clear on what the meeting is for. Set an agenda. Make sure the people you invite are clear on why they’re invited and what’s expected of them. If you’re inviting them ‘for information only’ consider if their time would be better spent reading the information after the meeting rather than attending. And if you’re invited

to a meeting and you’re not clear on the purpose and your role, then it’s your responsibility to ask the organiser.

2. Only invite the people who need to be there

If you’re organising a meeting, consider who you invite and what their role is. I’ve observed some organisations with a meeting culture which means that everyone gets invited to everything. This can be because of a lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities, and sometimes it’s caused by lack of confidence or fear of failure. Whatever the reason it’s a massive waste of time, energy and resource to invite more people than are required to a meeting.

3. Be ruthless about the meetings you attend

Research shows that managers spend at least 50% of their time in meetings and four hours a week preparing for status updates, not leaving much time to actually do the work. Your time is precious, and it’s a finite resource. It’s your responsibility to use it wisely. If you’re unclear on your role in a meeting ask the organiser.

If you’re not required or there’s a more efficient way of getting the information, for example reading the meeting notes, politely ask the question about whether it’s the best use of your time to be there.

If you only implement these three tips, imagine the time you’ll save yourself and your organisation, time that can be used for something more productive.

Effective meetings is one of the modules inside the Lucidity Success System. For full access to the Lucidity Success System training join the Lucidity Network. Here’s your link with more information and to sign up.

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