Would you be concerned about wasting $37 billion? Because that’s how much worker salary unnecessary meetings waste for U.S. businesses, according to Atlassian. The data they gathered showed the following cringe-worthy stats about what employees do during the average meeting:
- 91% daydream
- 39% sleep
- 73% do other work
- 96% miss meetings altogether
That doesn’t mean we should do away with meetings completely, of course. The best meetings can be a vehicle for great employee engagement, where team members generate new ideas and challenge each other to learn and grow.
But how do we avoid the bad kinds of meetings? Making 91% of employees daydream during work is not the way to succeed at engagement.
Consulting company Root Inc. has had plenty of experience observing successful (and not-so-successful) managers. They shared with us the four tried-and-true steps for effective meetings that take up less time, engage more people, and yield better outcomes.
Step 1: Invite the right people
“When it comes to meetings, getting the right people in the room can make all the difference. Consider inviting the people you’re not inviting — those with competing priorities and different perspectives. When in the same room, you have the opportunity to directly overcome differences and arrive at solutions that help build a cohesive organization. Best of all, you’ve cut out the back-and-forth emails and voicemails — all the noise and mistrust that blocks real information sharing and collaboration.”
Step 2: Gather data and use it as validation
“If the customer is the top priority for a initiative, explain what this means and show what this looks like with descriptive examples. What are the exact detailed steps that should be part of each customer experience, and how does each attendee play a role? People never complain about a meeting that delivers valuable information. Generate and use the data available to you to validate your points — observe the front line, read performance feedback from customers, speak with managers in other departments.”
Step 3: Set your agenda
“Without a clear agenda, managers risk fatiguing the team with tedious spreadsheets or by reading the data they’ve worked hard to obtain verbatim. A great agenda might include a trend you’ve noticed, a story of a really good customer experience delivery and what that team did that was above and beyond, a hypothesis as to why the sixth floor continually has poor housekeeping, etc. Other things to remember when it comes to the agenda: make sure there is enough time to actually get through everything, recurring meetings should be led the same way each week, leave time for brainstorming and feedback, always provide kudos.”
Step 4: Define action items
“Always conclude your meeting by reviewing what happens next. High-performing managers don’t “noodle” and they don’t “place things on the back burner.” The most effective managers explicitly detail who is doing what, when, and for how long. This helps to make each meeting count.”
Do your meetings follow these steps? If not, it’s time to give them a makeover and get yourself better, faster, and more engaging meetings.