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Let your meetings work for you

October 3rd, 2019

Written by Katy Winship

The average worker now spends 213 hours a year – or 26 working days– in meetings. It averages out at 62 meetings per month per person and that’s without taking into consideration time spent waiting on technology struggles and attendees who turn up late, go to the wrong room or don’t even arrive at all!

At ACS, we think that meetings can often go on too long and sometimes are not even necessary. We would all like to have less of them or make them more efficient, but how? I decided to find out. A simple Google search told me what I need to do to have successful meetings. Here are the dos and don’ts of making the most of meetings:

DO:

  • Make agendas – make sure that there is an agenda set, communicated and kept to.

  • Stick to the allotted time – begin on time and make sure it doesn’t overrun.

  • Make minutes – assign an employee to take minutes and make sure these are communicated straight away to all stakeholders.

  • Visual aids – utilise one of the many tools we sell at ACS (such as the Post-it Super Sticky Big Notes available here) to create mind maps, make notes or thrash out ideas.

DON'T:

  • Don’t let senior members of staff overtake the meeting – have a more junior employee run the meeting to make sure everyone feels confident to be heard.

  • Don’t have side conversations.

  • Don’t check your phone/ emails during the meeting.

Now, I doubt this is ground-breaking news to you and there’s a high chance you already follow most or some of the advice above. If Dr Google is wrong and you’re still having unsuccessful meetings then maybe it’s time to turn it up a notch, change it up a bit, think outside the box (and so on) and try out some of these novel suggestions:

The two-pizza rule

CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, insists on a “two pizza rule” for meetings. Surprisingly, no pizza is served but the idea is that two pizzas should be able to feed the amount of people attending. If it can’t, there are too many attendees. If large meetings are a regular occurrence perhaps it’s time to get a slice (sorry) of the action.

Walking meetings

As well as being good for our health, (which in turn improves productivity and attendance) walking whilst we talk has been found to stimulate creativity. There are many benefits to walking meetings, for example; relaxed employees are more likely to communicate better and hierarchical distinctions are less present. However, there are a couple of things to remember: 1. this isn’t effective practice in stormy conditions and 2. any more than 4 people walking purposefully abreast looks like an angry mob.

Go off-site

Getting away from the constraints of the office can help colleagues think outside of the box – because they are literally outside of the box. No disturbances from other colleagues, emails or phone calls to distract them and distance from the responsibilities of the office can encourage team building, camaraderie and networking

The conference bike meeting

One of the more unusual meeting ideas is the bike meeting. Made famous by Google - during bike meetings, seven people ride a special “conference bike,” all of them facing each other and pedalling the bike forward – but only one person steers and faces the direction where the bike is headed. It’s a fun way to get people working together and take the edge off discussing workplace matters.

Silent meetings

This is a great method for us introverts to easily get our points across. The silent meeting can be conducted face-to-face in a meeting room or over Skype. The idea is that employees read a memo and an agenda beforehand and type up or copy and paste their thoughts during the meeting. This approach gives everybody the chance to reflect on the issues raised and express ideas they might not otherwise think of in a “live meeting”.

Let us know how you do business meetings by leaving a comment below!