Best meeting practice - understanding the value of effective meetings

How do you know if your meeting has been productive? Ineffective meetings reportedly cost UK companies more than £44bn – if you ask us, that's a lot of money! 

Unproductivity can be caused by anything from poor time management, to having the wrong audience, or even the wrong message. Yet, the State of Meetings 2019 findings are still as jarring as they are unsurprising. High-level takeaways include:

· Professionals spend 2 hours a week, or 13 days a year, in pointless meetings;

· The average business pro spends three hours a week in meetings;

· 24 billion hours will be lost to meetings in 2019;

· 34% of American workers consider unnecessary meetings to be the biggest costs to their companies;

· 70% of respondents prefer morning meetings and 76% wanted face-to-face meetings.

At HTS, we work closely with our clients to ensure there's a clear understanding of the meetings' objectives and the desired outcomes and then work with them to achieve this goal.

Because we love to share our insider knowledge, here are some of Amy's quick tips for ensuring you have a productive and effective meeting. 

1. What's your objective and the desired outcome? 

Many people organise a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, and that isn't productive for anyone. We're all time precious, many of us travel for meetings, so we need to ensure the desired outcome will benefit all attendees.

The content needs to work for everyone in the room for it to be productive, by having a clear set of objectives at the outset will allow people to prepare accordingly and increase the productivity of the meeting.

2. Does everyone need to attend? 

Now you have your objective, determine your audience. Less is always more. By keeping numbers to a minimum and only inviting people who genuinely need to be there will contribute something of value. They will be empowered to take the outcomes and execute messages back into their businesses.

By minimising numbers, it also reduces your overhead costs. You can hire a smaller meeting room, which results in lower prices of food and beverages. You'll also save either yourself or your delegates any unnecessary travel expenses.

3. Choose the right venue

If you're inviting people from outside your business who might need to travel, ensure you do the maths and find the right location and venue that suits the majority of your intended attendees.

It'll always be the case that some people will have to travel further than others; we accept that. But if you can source a venue which limits travel for most, meeting productivity will be higher as guests won't be tired from avoidably long travel journeys.

4. Have engaging content

Being talked at for hours isn't a way to get the best result for anyone. A lack of collaboration, or opportunity for feedback, means they lose enthusiasm and motivation - even if it's not 'death by PowerPoint.' Video content is becoming more popular, and as technology improves, it's becoming more feasible to create engaging and affordable snippets.

To keep your audience engaged, ensure they come to the meeting expecting to get involved. Have workshop sessions that allow for discussion and interaction. I find this is the best way to learn and to take away crucial messages.

5. Be aware of people's time

As I said at the beginning, people are so time conscious. There is a lot about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and this is now at the forefront of event organisers minds when setting out objectives for events. Where possible, arrange the meeting for within a typical working day, allowing working parents to carry out the school run or arrive home at a reasonable hour so they can still enjoy their evenings.

If your meeting or event is intended to be more than one day and you've arranged accommodation, it's more than likely you'll organise a meal or entertainment in the evening. If this is the case, still remember to give your delegates some 'downtime' so they can either respond to emails from the day, catch-up with family at home, or if you're like me, the time for a quick power nap. It helps people switch off from the day and retain the information more effectively.

6. Finish with a plan 

Ensure people have clear direction on what you expect of them at the end of the meeting. Identify key roles and responsibilities for necessary actions to take the outcomes of your meeting to the next level. With action deadlines, and regular updates, momentum will flow, and you'll meet the objectives of the meeting.  


If you'd like some advice on best meeting practice, get in touch, I'd love to share more and see how we can support you in future meetings.

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