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Running Effective Meetings

Time is money. Every unproductive minute of staff’s time is costly to a business. With many companies now embracing remote working this has led to an increase in the number of meetings being held every day. With this in mind, here are some reasons why most meetings are not managed correctly and what you can do to remedy this.

1. Prepare an Agenda and Share It with Attendees

Before a meeting consider all the saliant topics which need to be discussed. Allocate an estimated time to them to ensure they get the attention required. If materials such as a presentation will be disused share it before the meeting. This will save everyone time having to explain it at the start and means attendees come into the meeting stimulated with ideas knowing what is to be discussed.

2. Allocate Roles and Responsibilities

It’s good practice to ensure you have the following roles represented in all of your key meetings:

Chair – This individual should drive the meeting, have overall accountability for decisions to be made and ensure participants stay on topic. They should work with minute taker to ensure the appropriate content is captured in the meeting minutes and they are a true reflection of the content discussed.  Normally this will be a senior member of staff such as a manager.

Deputy Chair – Since individuals holding chairperson roles are busy, it’s wise to have a deputy allocated who can step into the role when required.

Administrator – Administrators are accountable for arranging the meeting, this includes: setting up the room/call details, inviting the attendees and distributing the meeting materials. In some cases, this can extend to ordering catering (and checking dietary requirements) and ensuring attendees have access to the building or call. Administrators should also assist the chairperson by warning them when allotted agenda points are due to finish.

Minute Taker – This individual should capture all the key outcomes of the meeting and share this with the chairperson for approval.  This can be combined with the Administrator role and is ideal for introducing an early in career individual on how a project or operation is run.

3. Define Actions, Allocate Them, and Track Them to Completion

Every meeting should have a set of clear actions which are the outcome of the agenda discussed. Without this the meeting was pointless; you may have had a stimulating conversation, but nothing will get done as a result of it. Actions also need to have clear accountability.  Assigning a task to a team or several people causes confusion, make sure there is 1 named individual is chosen. This could be a manager of a team where several people are needed to complete the work. At next meeting ensure you review the actions and check if they were completed. Do this every single meeting to foster a culture which trains attendees that actions will be chased, and they should come prepared with an update.

4. Keep a Repository of Meetings and Associated Items

To put the above points into practice, you will need a single repository of Meeting Minutes, Actions, Decisions, and Reference Material. This will save attendees time crawling through e-mails and intranets trying to find what they are looking for.

5. Use MI to Validate a Meeting’s Purpose

Once you put structure around running a meeting you will start to collect data which can be used to improve how it is run going forward. How often are Actions completed on time, do you set realistic target dates? How often to participants attend, do they feel the meeting is worthwhile? How often do agenda points run over, do you need to put in better controls to prevent this? Review the data, put a remediation plan in place and then review it again at a later agree period to ensure items are trending in a positive direction.

Implementing these changes is not trivial, it will require people to change their behaviours and put in more work upfront to realise the overall benefits.

It will also be a significant administrative undertaking. CloudCube’s Meeting Manager can assist with this by providing a SaaS platform to digitize the practices outlined and automate the workflow.

You can find out more about CloudCube from Integrated Cloud here.

Alternatively, you can contact us for more information or to arrange a demo here.

Michael Dolan

Michael has been part of Integrated Cloud's journey since 2013 and has worked as a key resource on several large transformation programs for clients all across the world. Michael is Head of Product Configuration, meaning he uses industry knowledge and expertise to head up the team that implement changes to CloudCube using the CloudCubeDNA low code application builder toolset.