Business Meetings With Purpose

BUSINESS MEETINGS WITH PURPOSEpeople

Oh no! You yawn and roll eyes, ‘here we go again, not another business meeting’ as you receive the notification!  If that is your reaction, then chances are either you are having too many meetings and not achieving anything or maybe you just don’t see the purpose intended.  Is the problem within you or the problem within the facilitator of the meeting? We can discuss both sides of that story in length for some time.

I may not be able to change your attitude or perception of the business meeting purpose, but I’d like to contribute to making more success of the next one for you.

One of the first questions one should ask is ‘do we need a meeting or would it be more efficient to simply just send an email to everyone?  Does all invitees need to attend or just the principle members on that committee or department?

PRE-MEETING

Agenda – As we have determined that a meeting is a necessity, then there should be ample opportunity for all invitees to contribute to the agenda and sufficient time to think about what is on the agenda prior to attending the meeting.  Without an agenda, the purpose and the outcome could be lost and certainly the purpose unclear. Without the purpose being know, we get the ‘oh no, not another meeting’ attitude.

RSVP and the venue  – ensure you know who is going to attend to ensure that you have the right venue, enough seating, enough note pads, notes, reports or whether is required along with any catering.  Nothing is more disruptive to a meeting than the extra person that wasn’t expected to attend. The scramble for another chair, the sharing of notes etc. Does the meeting location offer all facilities for the meeting i.e. overhead projector, adequate seating etc.  Is the venue within a convenient location from the invitees workplace?  Does accommodation need to be booked? Is catering just a jug of water or a three course dinner? And make yourself familiar with the toilets and emergency procedure prior to the meeting.  Are the facilitators informed of all attendees?

DURING THE MEETING

Delegate one person at least to record the minutes of the meeting or responsible for the audio recording of the meeting.  Maybe you need one person from each business or department to record their own minutes.

The previous meeting’s minutes should be read out or at least reviewed and all parties need to accept.  If there are any contentious issues arising from previous meetings, these need to be addressed.  Any further follow ups from issues arising, needs to be delegated to someone to be responsible for it.

All attendees need a copy of the previous minutes of the meeting.

Ensure that the meeting is not drawn out and undue discussions are extending the meeting.  Suggest that, if necessary, certain parties arrange an outside meeting at a different time to engage in lengthy discussion and report back next time.  Not all attendees need to be part of all discussions.  This should also ensure that the meeting flows and keeps to a time frame.

TARGETS AND KPI’s

A meeting with purpose should have targets or KPI’s (key performance indicators) attached to the meeting.  If there is none of this, the meeting may not have a true purpose unless you are merely making an announcement to the attendees.

Do the meeting attendees have an insight into the bigger picture of the company and the purpose (goals) of the meeting? To achieve those goals, the target needs to be identified and those responsible need to be aware of it with a time specific reporting date. How can you truly know when you have achieved the target when you don’t know where the finishing line is?

By sharing the goal and focusing on the target, it is then that others may also be able to strive to achieve and there starts the KPI’s.

POST MEETING

A purposeful meeting will result in some attendees being delegated with tasks to fulfil and others should be walking away being better informed, educated, feeling connected, feeling involved with the business’ goals and day-to-day business.

All attendees should be sent a copy of the Minutes of Meeting or report of some version within a day or so of the meeting. These are to be made available up request to appropriate personnel.

SUMMARY

If the meeting had purpose then the clarity of that purpose would be evident to all attendees.  If the meeting has failed to identify the purpose, then the facilitator may need to readdress the style of meeting and its structure.

Have you ever walked away from a meeting and wondered ‘what the hell was that all really about?’.  Whether the meeting is an internal meeting amongst fellow work colleagues or a client based meeting, the fundamentals are the same. Have clarity and purpose and reap the results.  What’s your golden rule to ensure your meetings have a purpose?