Meetings are a longstanding staple of the modern workplace. Most people don’t bat an eye when they receive an invite to a meeting. And yet, these seemingly run-of-the-mill sessions have the potential to be very wasteful for everyone involved, especially the company.
According to one infographic cited by Inc., the average U.S. worker spends nearly 12 hours of each 40-hour workweek “preparing for and attending status meetings.” When you multiply these affects by the length of each meeting and the number of attendees, it’s clear how meetings cost a lot in productivity. How they’re run also affects morale for attendees, a less-tangible but still important metric for leaders to keep in mind.
Want to streamline how your organization approaches meetings so you can get the most out of each one? Start by avoiding these four staff meeting mistakes:
Mistake #1: Holding a Meeting Just Because
When was the last time you asked why you’re holding a meeting? The answer may seem obvious on the surface, but it pays to evaluate the value specific meetings are—or aren’t—providing. Teams may find certain meetings are scheduled just because, especially if they’ve been added to calendars as a reoccurring series. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to cancel, move or condense these meetings as needed.
Justifying each meeting held within your company will help you free up time and effort that would otherwise be poured into useless meetings held on principle. You’ll cut down on the sessions considered “pointless” and “unnecessary” by attendees.
Mistake #2: Getting “Stuck in the Weeds”
Getting stuck in the weeds is an idiom that refers to getting tangled up in details and complexities to the point it’s overwhelming. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of getting hung up on minute details at the expense of the bigger picture. Unsurprisingly, this tends to frustrate or confuse meeting attendees. It also means important topics fall short of getting the attention and consideration they deserve because a large chunk of each meeting disappears in the weeds.
The potent combination of a prioritized agenda plus a moderator will help you avoid making this particular mistake.
Mistake #3: Underestimating the Power of Participation
Employees are full of valuable ideas and opinions. The trick is figuring out how to gain access to them. How many times has the moderator stood at the front of the room asking for feedback, only to encounter crickets in response? Or, on the flip side, a meeting can easily devolve into everyone trying to voice their thoughts—sometimes right over the top of one another.
How well your meetings facilitate attendee participation affects business outcomes. Interactive tech tools are your best bet in this arena, as they give everyone in the room a voice, whether it’s a small team meeting of 15 or an all-hands meeting of 5,000.
Here are a few staff meeting ideas from Poll Everywhere for boosting interactivity using audience response technology:
-Get people warmed up and ready to participate by kicking things off with a collaborative icebreaker.
– Ask what attendees want to talk about at the very beginning; allow them to submit answers from their mobile devices. Then work these talking points into the agenda.
-Solicit anonymous feedback on sensitive topics to see how employees really feel.
-Make sure employees are retaining the most important takeaways with a quick multiple-choice “pop quiz.”
Capitalize on employee insights by facilitating effective participation throughout each meeting.
Mistake #4: Letting People Leave Without Clear Goals
If people leave the room without a clear idea of what to do next, your meetings aren’t accomplishing much. Make sure attendees understand the action items discussed and send recaps and reminders as needed.
Simply put, avoiding these four staff meeting mistakes will help you get the most out of each gathering.