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The Ultimate Meeting Guide: How to Run a Meeting Like a Pro

Without a doubt, meetings remain an essential part of doing business. Among many other benefits, they ensure your teams stay on the same page with the information they need to get things done. Unfortunately, they get a bad rap for taking up time and resources—ultimately costing your business. Surveys say employees historically hate meetings. So much so that almost half of the respondents polled by Harris for Clarizen (46%) said they’d instead do nearly anything else than attend status meetings. Moving to Antarctica was more favorable for 6% of the respondents, 8% would endure a root canal, and 17% would prefer to watch paint dry than be stuck in a meeting.

So, why are meetings earning such a bad rap?

It’s mostly because of the sizable gap between the increasing volume of meetings and the value derived from the time spent. “15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings,” according to Bain & Company via Harvard Business Review. And as everyone knows, time is money in any organization.

So, what can a business do?

The short answer is: Conduct simple, direct meetings focused on exact action items so that the time spent feels convenient and useful for your employees.

Do you even need to meet?

When is a meeting necessary? Should a meeting be convened at all? They’re valid questions and could save you significant time and money. Meetings without a clear agenda often lead to unproductive behaviors from attendees. Bain & Company conducted a survey that found that $60 million, 20% of the total cost of meetings, was squandered in unproductive activity in a sample 10,000 employee business.

Watch your company’s bottom line and value your employees’ time by first determining whether a meeting is necessary. If it is, then follow some best practices for making it a success.

Here are some simple criteria to consider before calling or attending a meeting:

  • What is the action item of the meeting? Is it decisive or informing?
  • What is the size of the meeting? If the number of people attending the meeting is greater than 10, it’s more of a presentation than a meeting.
  • Is the meeting to inform a handful of people? If the time is spent discussing status or debriefing information, you likely only need to send a memo or email or publish a document on your company’s intranet/website.
  • Will the meeting solve a problem? Will it help you and your peers reach an important decision or persuade a group of people to support a proposition? Is a brainstorming session needed to gather new information for a product or service? If you answered no to any of these questions, you don’t need a meeting.
  • Is there a better alternative, such as using a tool with real-time chat or team announcement features? If so, explore the merits of such a device before requiring people to pause whatever they’re doing to attend a meeting.
  • Will suspending or canceling a meeting negatively impact your employees’ abilities to complete their assigned tasks? If yes, go ahead and convene the meeting.

There’s a better way to conduct your meetings, and it’s directly tied to your business’ success. What if you could eliminate your meeting-related frustrations and run them efficiently like a pro? It’s not a far-fetched businessperson’s dream. We can help you deploy Teams, teach your employees how to use them, and offer professional development training to hone communication skills. Get in touch to learn more about how we can train your team to rock online meetings.