BID® Daily Newsletter
Jan 20, 2021

BID® Daily Newsletter

Jan 20, 2021

Making Meetings More Productive

Summary: In 2019, American businesses lost $399B due to unnecessary and poorly run meetings. Some tips to steer clear of lost productivity from meetings: examining types of work, leveraging technology, visual aids in meetings, and alignment to goals.

One of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior, is a freshwater lake with the world’s largest surface area. Due to this massive amount of water, you will even see waves! While you may not want to make waves at work, meetings may need to be reviewed for their level of productivity.
In 2019, American businesses lost $399B to unnecessary and badly organized meetings. The pandemic increased the hours that workers spend in meetings by about 10%. If the math holds, that means poorly run meetings cost the US $440B last year.
With some rethinking of organizational frameworks, using goals as a litmus test, not going overboard with visuals, and having a healthy dose of modern technology, you can save yourself and your organization from wasted time and dollars.
Recognize makers vs. managers

Organizations can sort employees into makers and managers. Makers sell and process a financial institution’s products and services. Their work benefits from stretches of uninterrupted time to build relationships and strategically sell or organize and process important paperwork in a timely manner. Breaking up that time could cost them momentum and concentration.
Managers, on the other hand, typically move from task to task and from appointment to appointment. The longer anyone stays with an organization, the more likely that person is to be in management — and in a position to influence other employees’ schedules, including meetings. Remind your managers when scheduling meetings with makers to consider that different work types have different rhythm needs.
Think about your goals

We all try hard to do good work. But, sometimes we end up in too many unproductive meetings. At times, we invite too many people to meetings or we attend a meeting when we really don’t need to be available. One of these activities in isolation won’t create much of an issue, but too many of them could add up to more time spent in unnecessary meetings, when you could be productive in other areas or other activities.
To avoid this, think of your top five goals for the year. If the meeting does not tie into these goals in any way, then you will need to politely bow out. If it is included in your top five goals, but this particular agenda doesn’t need your presence, you will want to put yourself as an “optional” attendee and make the decision about your time as the agenda firms up (encourage the host to have an agenda) or your projects for that day take shape.
Use visuals judiciously

People are often more engaged if they are not looking at a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet. If you can make your point without charts and graphs for any meeting, skip the visuals. It takes time to get them prepared too. But, if they are useful for reference, try using them only in part of the meeting or as handouts after the meeting.
Solve problems asynchronously

Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself if an email, well-crafted document, or Doodle poll could help you get the information or opinions that a meeting would yield. When you can, use technology to let employees respond when it works for their schedules. This allows them to time-manage based on their workload, while solutions are still reached for the organization.
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