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5 Ways to improve meeting management

5 Ways to improve meeting management

Integrating Time and Team Management

In the highly competitive environment of modern business, efficient meeting management is a necessity. The holistic approach that compromises both time and team management can transform meetings from unnecessary burdens into a driving force of organizational efficiency and innovation. To achieve the desired outcome, it is recommended to structure agendas and utilize technology to complement human effort.

An Illustrative Case

Imagine a situation where a famous Silicon Valley tech giant struggles with time-wasting meetings and adopts a new strategy. The company’s meetings were inefficient and unnecessary, frequently taking longer than desired and lacking clear objectives. New management approach envisaged controlling the duration of meetings and scheduling precise agendas. As a result of the implementation of predetermined agendas that were formulated at the beginning of the meetings, and followed by clear conclusions and decision, the meeting’s overall duration shortened by 30%, and decision-making accelerated dramatically .

Application of a Time-tested Method

Agendas are the most fundamental element of meeting management. According to an experience of a Fortune 500 company, a structured agenda results in a 40% increase in meeting’s productivity . A single- and double-loop approach to an agenda formation corresponds to the preparation and conclusion, respectively. It ensures that the attention of the participants is focused on the issues that require attention and everyone is informed over the precise topic that needs to be discussed.

Emerging Technologies and Team Management Solutions

In the modern world, numerous examples of software may assist an organization in managing its time and teams during meetings. An app that is integrated into personal calendars of the meeting’s participants can cut the time of planning a possible meeting by 50% by suggesting an appropriate meeting time based on people’s schedules . In terms of team moderation, a round robin method may be applied that presupposes the involvement of each participant in a discussion. The no-reopen rule is also recommended to avoid rediscussing decisions made during the meeting.

Real-time decision making

In any dynamic business environment, quick decisions made in meetings are crucial. Organizations thus need to shift from traditional, hierarchical based decision making structures to more agile team based organisations. A study involving the premier sales company found that real time decisions made by the team reduced the time it takes to go to market by 25%.

In one of the effective executions, the project teams agreed to only discuss decisions and updates important to the progression of the project. This process cut the time of the weekly meeting by half and was able to increase the satisfaction of the teams and the pace of the project award.

After the meeting, tracking follow-ups are adhered to all the agreement of the meeting to ensure that team members are doing what they are accountable for. At times, digital action item trackers are involved to assign tasks during the meeting. In one instance at the multinational corporation, the tools were used and the team witnessed a 35% increase of completed checklists.

Since the tools provide the action items of the meeting immediately after the meeting, there is more firm initiative by the team to do what they were supposed to do. In one marketing firm, company A, follow-up emails are generated and sent to all the members involved immediately after the meeting. In addition, a list of what members should do before the next meeting is provided. The results of this practice saw drastic improvement of the delivery time of the project.

Be Tech-Savvy, But Keep It Simple

The right technology can ease meeting processes greatly, but the approach should be straightforward for its use to be wide-spread and effective. An overly-complicated system can cause frustration, reduce productivity, and even lead to the abandonment of the technology. Selection of the Right Tools. A global consulting firm adopted a simple, web-based meeting management tool that synchronized with participants’ existing digital calendars and email systems. As a result, the technology was used by 80% of the staff instead of 30% who used the previous management tool .

Meeting Scheduling

The tool that the startup began using facilitated one-click meeting scheduling, automated minute-taking, and located action items afterward. Subsequently, the time spent on meeting organization was reduced by almost 50%, and the time spent on the conclusion of follow-ups was 60% faster. In addition to that, scheduling is an important aspect of reducing the time spent on meeting preparation. With scheduling tools’ help, participants can also vote for the times in which they would like the meeting to occur. In a software development company that began using a scheduling tool that integrated with their project management software, the number of time conflicts met over resource and meeting space was halved. As a result, 40% fewer projects failed to meet deadlines .

Streamlined preparation

Pre-meeting activities are just as important as scheduling because they influence both the time spent on the meeting itself and its efficiency. Another time-saving activity is the distribution of materials prior to the meeting. At a pharmaceutical company, a digital tool was used for pre-meeting sharing of documents and setting of agendas. The result was a 30% meeting time decrease and 45% increase in the output quality as the participants arrived better-prepared and had the right focus .

Prepare Ahead and Let Others Do the Same

Ensuring that every meeting participant is prepared beforehand is one of the most effective strategies to manage a meeting. This technique allows not only saving time during a meeting but enhancing the quality of discussions as well as the effectiveness of decision-making.

The Role of Meeting Agendas

Providing a detailed meeting agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting is considered to be one the most effect ways to manage a meeting. For instance, a large multinational company found that its meetings had become 25% shorter once they started providing the medium with detailed agendas in advance . The given approach helps participants to be better prepared for the upcoming meeting and stay focused on the issues enlisted in the agenda.

Advanced Preparation

A multi-billion dollar tech company in Seattle introduced the system that provided a detailed agenda for the meetings. The provided agenda included not only the topics to be discussed but also questions to be answered as well as data and documents to be considered. In such way, team members could prepare their ideas and suggestions beforehand . As a result, the meetings became much more dynamic and efficient, while problem-solving effectiveness had grown by 40% within the first three months of the new system implementation.

Encouraging Everyone to Contribute

Providing each team member with enough time to prepare ensures that every team member can contribute. This practice not only helps to democratize meetings but also utilize the collective intelligence of the group.

Empowering team members

An engineering company used this approach by demanding each team member to raise at least one point that will be included in the agenda. This policy helped to encourage other members, and the meetings have become much more inclusive . Time before the meeting is the most valuable time to prepare for it. Any preparation beforehand allows the time of the meeting to be minimized.

Helping the meeting become more efficient

A huge financial service firm used pre-meeting time to prepare a wrapping document that consisted of all key numbers or facts. In such way, a final decision could be easily taken at the meeting, and the time needed to make decisions was halved .

Think Strategically

Strategic meeting management is a type of approach that allows to align a meeting with the broader goals of an organization. In other words, it ensures that each meeting has a clear purpose and contributes directly to the organization’s objectives and is more than just a routine gathering.

Align with organizational goals

One of the practical examples from a global retail chain demonstrates strategic thinking regarding the meetings. The main goals of the organization were increasing market share and improving customer satisfaction. They designed bi-weekly strategic review meetings where each department presented updates that were tied to these goals. As a result, the company put a more focused effort and got a 20% improvement in achieving the strategic goals in the first year.

Impact of strategic meeting management

The implementation of this approach can have a significant impact on the efficiency of an organization. For instance, a technology firm employed strategic meeting planning and cut down on the unnecessary meetings, which led to a 30% reduction in time spent on meetings throughout the week. This time was used for employees to engage in core business tasks.

Prioritize meeting topics

One of the elements of strategic thinking concerns prioritization of meeting topics according to their relevance and the influence on the organization’s goals.

Effective topic selection

A financial consultancy now prioritizes meeting agendas according to the topics’ influence on the potential increase of revenue and risk management . As the result, the topics are always relevant and provide a direct contribution to the firm’s bottom line.

Prepare for long-term success

The key element of strategic meeting management is a long-term approach-oriented planning of the results of the decisions and not just a response to an immediate need.

long-term planning

A pharmaceutical company started to evaluate the long-term impact of each decision during meetings. This allowed to allocate fewer resources and time to less impactful projects and increase the focus on the ones that may bring an effect in the future.

End the Discussion with a Clear Overview

That to effectively manage a meeting, that meeting should be concluded with a clear summary of the decisions made and the next steps. This not only ensures that the team undergoes a meeting with a common understanding of what it has accomplished, but also provides accountability for team members by setting expectations for their performance. It can lead to improvements in productivity. Many applications can be used to assist this common practice.

Ensuring accountability using actionable summaries

A good example of doing this is provided by the top marketing agency. Its General Meetings include a company-wide meeting at the end of which the chair, or another executive officer, presents a summary of the meeting in a few slides, including the key decisions, the tasks that have been assigned to each group, the deadlines and the responsible people. This practice has been determined to improve the rates of project delivery by 40%.

Clarity of expectations

As a result of an actionable summary, each team member leaves a meeting with a clear understanding of what should be done afterwards, which eliminates the need for additional meetings for clarification that results so often occur. The summary of the meeting can also be useful for subsequent follow-up.

Establishing a follow-up protocol

There is an example of a follow-up protocol that can be used:

  • A multi-national tech company has established a standard of follow-up for all of its meetings. The meeting leader sends the summary of the meeting via email within 24 hours, which includes a checklist of the actions that have been assigned to each team member. This practice not only increased accountability, but also led to a 30% reduction of the time needed to achieve the punk ass of each meeting.

Using digital tools

Most of the follow-up solutions are ICT-related. Some applications assist the process by generating meeting minutes and the task lists following the meetings.

Technology facilitating an actionable summary

A healthcore system provider has been using a digital tool, which integrates with its software for managing meetings, tasks, projects, and timeliness, to update the task lists and the timelines automatically following the decisions made at the meeting. Through the integration, the follow-up has become more structured, and the number of back-office hours spent on it decreased by 25%.

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