tips for quality service
“Let’s Have a Meeting!”
by Carl Tompkins
Regardless of the type or size of company, one of the most dreaded of
all phrases used in conducting business is, “Let’s have a meeting.”
I’ve met very few employees who look forward to meetings and the overwhelming
reason why is that they are believed to be a waste of time.
Meetings are Necessary
To fix the problems associated with meetings, allow me to provide the
necessary details within particular aspects of meetings.
Yes, meetings are necessary. When meetings are planned and conducted properly,
synergy is achieved, and more is accomplished by the whole of the group
than what is able to be accomplished by individuals. Having everyone together
at the same time to hear the same message and feed off of everyone’s interaction
poses great benefits to an organization. Meetings save time since the
message can be given to the entire company at one time. This allows for
quick implementation of new business strategies and procedures.
“When meetings are planned and conducted
properly, synergy is achieved.”
Another great benefit of meetings done well is team-building and cross-selling
opportunities. When employees are separated by miles, departments and
job responsibilities, coming together can have a positive affect on corporate
morale. Meetings may provide the only opportunity for employees to interface
with one another, which contributes to team spirit.
The biggest drawback to meetings is the cost. The reasons meetings cost
more than what is expected is that most owners and managers only consider
the cost of the meeting room, travel, room and board. This is the tip
of the iceberg. Consider the costs associated with those people in attendance,
along with the costs associated with the missed business opportunities
by employees not working at their normal job functions. And there are
always meeting-related costs that are not budgeted.
Seldom do companies spend exactly what is budgeted; it’s always more.
The reason why meetings seldom result in making any direct contribution
toward improved results is that the subject matter is wrong. Too much
time is spent on history. Yes, it’s interesting to touch quickly on the
past, but anything more than a quick review is a waste of very expensive
time. History can be reviewed in an email or written report and requires
little explanation. The key is to move on to subjects of the future; this
is what impacts future results, remembering that history is fixed.
Since meetings are necessary and cost a lot of money, here are the steps
to take toward improving the value and impact of meetings:
1. Have a well-defined, documented meeting purpose. Make sure everyone
involved, whether a presenter or audience member, agrees with the meeting
purpose and is provided the professional courtesy of responding.
2. Have a well-defined set of targeted outcomes. Make sure that
new SMART (specific, measurable, agreeable, realistic and time-bound)
goals are set as a result of the meeting and that the entire team is aware,
agreeable and accountable.
3. Survey and respond to the needs of employees. Remember that
everyone should have a stake in a meeting and that everyone’s needs must
be met. Clearing employees’ agendas first paves the way for management
to make a positive impact, but only if they go second.
4. Delegate meeting development and presentations. Having as many
employees as possible involved in designing the agenda, timing and delivery
is the greatest step possible in developing a cohesive team approach toward
5. Have a process to follow up on progress. When the meeting is
done, the work begins. Be sure to have a process of keeping everyone informed
of the progress made toward the goals and purposes set in the meeting
in place. This process should last until the next meeting of similar design.
Include a survey of how employees felt about the meeting.
Have a great meeting!
Carl Tompkins is the global marketing resources manager for Sika
Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich., and the author of Winning at Business.
He is based in Spokane, Wash.
© Copyright 2012 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.