Learning how to run effective meetings is a vital skill for all managers and leaders to master. Meetings are essential to advancing the goals of your organization, as they provide an ideal setting for developing talent and motivating teams. However, meetings come with a price. Therefore, you must first ask and then answer 5 five questions before holding any meeting.
1. Is this meeting necessary?
Discern whether the meeting is necessary or not by considering other ways to accomplish the same result. It’s your job to be creative and resourceful because as #2 below makes clear, meetings can be expensive. Perhaps a timely phone call or client lunch can solve the crisis you are trying to avert.
2. What is the cost of the meeting?
Defining the cost of the meeting, begins by making an assessment of the sum of the annual salaries that are in the room. If you have five participants who are all earning six figures, a one hour meeting is costing you $275 plus any opportunity cost associated with what they could be doing. ($55.00 an hour x 5 = $275)
3. What is the worst possible outcome if I have no meeting at all?
If the worst possible outcome is you might lose a client, the meeting is likely necessary. However, you can loop back to # 1 and 2 here to evaluate other options. You might be surprised by the answers, one way or the other!
4. If the meeting is necessary, who must attend?
If the answers from questions 1- 3 tell you the meeting is necessary and will be effective, then evaluate and decide who must attend. The key word here being must. Implementing or referring to RACI for managing roles and responsibilities, will guide you here. This also provides you with a benchmark for allowing certain people to leave, after they’ve made their contribution.
5. How would I define the meeting’s purpose?
Being able to clearly define the meeting’s purpose, helps to develop effective and actionable solutions. Which in fact, is really the end result we are looking for from an effective meeting. It also ensures more meaningful contributions from participants and encourages future involvement.