Attending meetings and open forums are probably on the top three lists of things that employees hate spending too much time on. Most meetings drag for too long unnecessarily, and it hampers employee productivity at work.
Aside from hampering productivity, unnecessarily long meetings can cause production delays and several people would miss their deadline. Good if the meeting has actually produced something pivotal for the team, but if it’s just a couple of memos and repetitive discussion, then it would prove to be just a waste of time.
To make sure that each meeting will not be just a waste of time, organizers should prepare well for it. Below are however 3 common mistakes that should be avoided at all costs:
Inviting too many people.
This is the first mistake that most meeting organizers make. It is easy to invite one whole team to a meeting that concerns them, but it is impractical to bring in everyone when the agenda is best discussed to supervisors or senior employees only.
Inviting everyone will only drag the meeting for too long, because many would try to share their 2 cents, even though it is unnecessary. At the same time, it could also crowd the meeting room – making it hard for everyone to hear out and understand each other.
It is also impractical to invite employees that are not expected to have a say in the matter. At most, the meeting will only waste their time. Instead of finishing a task, they are stuck in a meeting that they don’t really have to care about.
The solution here is to discern who should be called for the meeting. If it only concerns seniors and supervisors, there’s no need to get everyone in. You can always have the seniors communicate and delegate the tasks and agreements that came out after the meeting. Best of all, you can just update everyone else after the meeting through an office-wide email.
Smaller meetings can be finished at an earlier time, and attendees can only talk about things that really matter, eliminating unnecessary and distracting side topics that can only hinder productivity.
No clear agenda or not sticking to the agenda.
Sure, a meeting can be called whenever a concern or new topic should be discussed right away, but this is not enough. Meeting organizers should not just stop at a topic, but should also list down what should be discussed exactly – the who, what, why, where and how.
Aside from outlining the agenda, it is important that meeting organizers also make sure that they are followed accordingly. Questions and feedback should still be welcomed, but these should be reserved at the end of the meeting so that no distractions and segues can prolong the meeting.
Meeting organizers should also make sure that by the end of the meeting, an action plan should be listed and delegated to every employee concerned. This is a way to make sure that the meeting is not just organized for the sake of having a meeting, but for the purpose of creating new plans and tasks.
No follow-up plan.
Sure, your meeting organizer may have prepared an action plan for everyone involved in the meeting, but the question is, is there a follow-up plan? Results cannot be measured without a follow-up plan, and action plans might not have even come into fruition because no one remembered to follow-up on the agreements and action plans that were settled during the meeting.
A lack of follow-up plan will ultimately waste the time and effort that was spent for the meeting. Good ideas and tasks will all go to waste when the desired or expected results were not accounted for.
As much as possible, meeting organizers should avoid calling a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting or just for the sake of doing some pep talk. If the subject of the meeting can be emailed to everyone, then there’s no need to go to the meeting room – just send an email blast.
This way, the company gets to save everyone’s time. Time which is best spent on their daily tasks or unfinished projects that should be completed urgently. It also lessens the stress that most employees would feel in the workplace, because their time was well spent on more important things than just a meeting that did not really concern them that much in the first place.