Effective Business Meetings

It is more than a year that i am working in corporate environment, but I don't know how this time went by. In  Corporate world I heard this from many people that they don't have enough time to do their work. I wonder where are we spending most of our time?
And recently I discussed this point with my manager. During the discussion one point came into my mind and that was why do we have so many meetings?

We are always looking for ways to find more time to complete our work.  Most of us have the majority of each & every day filled with meetings.  From my perspective, we have far too many meetings.  I am confident that we can reduce the number of meetings that we have & that we can optimize those that remain.  

During this meeting with my manager regarding the effectiveness of the work and improvement which was again a meeting of around 2 hours I suggested some very key points on how should we have meetings organized?
Below are guidelines for effective meetings 
  • Start meetings on time;
  • End meetings 5 minutes early;
  • Include agenda and topics to be covered;
  • Clearly state the meeting objective:  Is it a meeting for decision making, information sharing, status update, etc.?
  • Invite only those who really need to be there depending on the objective.  If you cannot easily articulate the role that each meeting attendee is expected to play, please scrutinize & optimize your invitation list;
  • Distribute information prior to the meeting so that we can get right to the meeting objective;
  • Challenge yourselves to reduce the amount of time required for each meeting – for example, can 1 hour meetings be reduced to 30 minutes, 90 minute meetings to 1 hour, etc.?
  • Document important items in meeting minutes & distribute to the meeting attendees.  Meeting scribes can be assigned or filled by volunteers in the meeting;
  • Respect others – if you cannot attend a meeting, decline it.  Do not accept the meeting & not attend, or cancel 5 minutes prior to the meeting.  Please do not knowingly “stomp” on people’s calendars – if a time slot is blocked, do not schedule another meeting on top of it.  Needless to say, there are times that this will be necessary but we should treat this as a very exceptional situation.
     If meetings do not have a clear agenda & objectives established, decline the meeting.  If you don’t have a clear role in the meeting, decline the meeting & ask the organizer for their expectations of you.  
      I realize that most of the organization will not necessarily follow these guidelines but I’m optimistic that this is a good start for us individually.
      I hope that you will see this as a step in the right direction to allow you to better manage your workload  & free up valuable time. 


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