71% of senior managers find meetings to be unproductive and inefficient (source: Harvard Business Review).
That adds up to quite a bit of wasted time!
As assistants, we can help avoid this statistic. From planning, to set up, to the actual live meeting, we can help ensure a better meeting experience across the board.
Here are eight tips to help ensure the meetings you organize are a lot more efficient.
Question if the meeting is necessary
Could decisions be made via email? Is this a weekly meeting that could be skipped? Do your best to question if having the meeting is necessary. This is especially the case if someone other than the person you support is requesting it.
Meetings are expensive and not always necessary. Check out this nifty meeting calculator from Harvard Business Review to calculate the estimated cost - it's definitely eye-opening!)
Send out the meeting invite ASAP
Unless it's an emergency, invites should be sent as far in advance as possible. People need time to prepare, so it's important to respect peoples' schedules and allow ample notice when possible.
Keep tabs on who has accepted or declined the meeting invite so all key participants are present. By making sure the crucial attendees accept the invite, you are helping to make sure important decisions and topics can be covered.
Collect and distribute agenda items in advance
To help ensure a more organized meeting, it helps immensely to collect and distribute agenda items in advance. This also includes any attachments or links that the attendees will need to reference. Also, include time budgets, if possible, for each discussion topic to avoid running over the scheduled end time.
Appoint a meeting police officer
How many times have you noticed attendees not staying on topic or meetings running long? I came across an idea on Lifehacker that gave a clever solution to these issues by appointing a "meeting police officer." Basically, the officer helps to steer the conversations back to the meeting topic when it starts to go off track. The officer also helps to make sure each topic on the agenda doesn't go over assigned time budget.
Turn off conference call beeps
In smaller meetings, it's helpful to know when a remote attendee has joined or left a meeting via the default beeps on a conference line.
In larger meetings, especially in a company-wide meeting, the beeps the opposite effect. It is not necessary to know when people join or leave a meeting as the sounds can distract the speaker and the audience.
I recommend learning how to use the conference call settings so you can turn on and off the beeps yourself. Usually, conference call companies have a representative you can contact if you are unsure of how to do so.
Promptly circulate meeting notes
Deliverables are usually assigned or promised during meetings. Help make sure those don't fall through the cracks by circulating the meeting notes promptly.
Meetings don't have to feel inefficient. With proper planning and the right know-how, you can play a huge part in making the most of everyone's time.
What meeting planning tips do you have to add? Please share in the comments below!