Making Meetings Matter!

Meetings can take up an inordinate amount of time in a lot of people’s working day. How you manage your meetings can make a huge difference to the productivity of your business.

Make meetings matter

When planning meetings how do you decide:

  • Who should attend?
  • When meetings should be scheduled?
  • Why they should happen?
  • What they should achieve?
  • How you measure the return on the investment of you and/or your colleague’s time spent attending meetings?

Scheduling meetings 

The scheduling of meetings is critical to the productivity of the workplace. Decisions and brainstorming meetings are best for morning time slots when participants are refreshed and more focused. Briefing and process meetings are best allocated to afternoon time slots when attendees may not be as alert.

Meeting goals and objectives

You need to ask yourself why you are having the meeting? Clearly defining your goals and objectives for holding a meeting is imperative. This ensures that you make the most of everyone’s time and resource and positions the business to get the best possible outcomes. Always ask yourself …is the meeting necessary?

Meeting attendees

The next question to ask yourself is who needs to attend the meeting?

So often meetings are attended by the masses and resource is wasted unnecessarily.

What is the purpose of the meeting?

Your answer will help determine the outcomes you want to achieve. The answer will also give you a clear indication of who should attend. Ask yourself if some attendees that may have attended before by default really need to attend some or all of the meetings that are planned. You may be able to communicate progress to them without them attending the meeting. This is an option if people are not critical to that part of the meeting process. This is helpful if you may need to include people in future meetings. You do not need to include everybody in every meeting. All stakeholders will them be kept up to speed.

Meeting agendas

Agendas are one of the most important components to achieving a successful meeting. An agenda will keep the meeting on track and allows you to allocate responsibility to each participant ensuring that you have no passengers.

It is very important that the meeting agenda is sent out well in advance to allow participants to prepare properly. A minute-taker is also crucial and a dedicated minute-taker who is succinct, yet thorough and captures the progress and outcomes of the meeting will keep the meeting in check. This will ensure that the minutes are not only read when distributed but are actioned accordingly.

Subsequent meetings should always revisit the prior minutes and agenda to create timelines. This will assist in identifying bottlenecks as well as accomplishments. These should be duly recognized in the meeting environment. This acts as a key performance indicator of your meeting’s efficiency and effectiveness and should be a vigilant and purposeful process.

Meeting actions and outcomes

Every participant of a meeting should have at least one action point when they walk out of a meeting. The ownership of an agenda item can be a very powerful tool to achieve a collaborative outcome when it is allocated as part of a meeting team goal.

For this to work you need to ensure that actions are addressed in a timely manner. This can be done by breaking down the goals into mini-goals that are reportable between meetings. Mini-goals can also be made reliant on the actions of other meeting attendees to encourage collaboration. This will allow the group to achieve the outcomes desired before the group meets again.

Reallocation of actions to other participants when tasks are not completed as required can be a strong deterrent for non-compliant participants. This can encourage them to be proactive to achieve outcomes in a timely manner. If they do not comply they will risk becoming a redundant team member.

Tolerance of disengagement or disinterest of meeting attendees will only delay and/or derail meeting agendas, actions and outcomes. This should  and never be encouraged or supported.

Meeting key performance indicators 

Key performance indicators can be measured in many different ways. They should change in accordance with the meeting objectives and desired outcomes. These key performance indicators may include time, cost, revenue, traffic, analysis, benchmarks or collaboration. Key performance indicators may also include two or more of these together or other benchmarks that are identified as relevant. These should be determined to be appropriate by the meeting organizer.

Meeting location

More than ever before location of a meeting is becoming irrelevant to the success of holding a successful meeting with the right participants. Virtual meetings are so well supported now that the only barriers relating to location is the timing of the meeting rather than the location. Organizers must ensure that time zones are considered carefully when planning meetings. This is to ensure all participants are not only able to attend, but are not impaired by the time of day or night that they will be required. This allows each attendee to be able to contribute proactively with other attendees.

An internal ‘Meeting SWOT Analysis’ is a good tool to implement that will help to determine the frequency and necessity of meetings. If a fraction of the time is taken to plan meetings that most businesses dedicate to actual meeting attendance businesses will achieve a significant improvement in productivity immediately.

The question about meetings you need to ask yourself as a business owner is….

Can my business afford not to?

Want to learn more about getting organised and planning?

Project Management: How to Run Team Meetings by Project Management Videos

Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation by Ian Brooks

A succinct, lively and robust introduction to the subject of OB that offers clear, focused coverage of the most important topics in an accessible way. Brooks et al aims to encourage critical examination of the theory of organisational behaviour whilst also enabling students to interpret and deal with real organisational problems.

10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning by Susan Barksdale

Loaded with worksheets, exercises, tips, tools, checklists, and other easy-to-use and interactive learning aids, this book walks you through the process from beginning to end. Along the way, you will see how other organizations have planned their successes in many Case Study sidebars that enhance the easy-to-follow text.

Originally posted 2015-06-14 10:48:02.

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How Productive Are You Really?

How often have you said I cannot achieve what I need to because I don’t have enough time or resources? You are as productive as you choice to be.

productive or not?








Have you ever asked yourself these questions. Am I productive enough? If your answer is no you need to ask yourself this question. Is this hindering or stopping me from achieving my goals and reaching my potential?

If you struggle to answer this question with clarity read on…

Gauge your productivity factor and discover how your perceived value or/and time management could be sabotaging how productive you are.

Take the quick quiz below and find out how your Perceived Value + Time Management may be indicative of your Productivity Factor.

Section 1: Discover what is your perceived value and how it could be sabotaging how productive you are

Choose the one answer you believe is most relevant to you for each of the below questions. Remember to be honest with your choices.

1) How do you see your professional self in the workplace?

a) I am confident and I know and respect what my strengths and weaknesses are.

b) I have a strong work ethic and see myself as a bit of an all-rounder.

c) I do certain tasks really well and I am recognized for this professionally.

d) I do everything that is required of me when I am asked.

e) I like performing certain tasks and enjoy doing them.

2) What do you do if you don’t really know how to perform a task?

a) I ask my manager to explain to me how to complete the task successfully.

b) I fake it till I make it.

c) I determine what the task will need to achieve a successful outcome and take the appropriate action to make that happen.

d) I delegate the task to my employees and then take the kudos for the team when I report back to the boss.

e) I take the direction from my manager but ask a colleague how they would do the task successfully before attempting it.

3) How do you improve your skills?

a) I volunteer for training and networking opportunities when they are offered.

b) I like learning what I find I can’t understand I research to become better versed in my role.

c) I am well read and keep updated with changes in my industry through newsletters and other subscriptions.

d) I explore and undertake any opportunity to learn in all areas that interest me and where I want to grow professionally.

e) I don’t undertake extra training as I am very comfortable in my ability to perform my role.

4) How do you know that your colleagues and management value you?

a) I always offer to assist anybody who asks me to.

b) I am the most popular employee at work and the life of the office Christmas party.

c) I am regularly recognized by my peers and management for the work I do.

d) I am loved by my colleagues and employees but you can never please management.

e) I make my manager look good as I make sure he/she always has the answers he/she needs.

Now check your results!

Q1 a) 5 b) 2 c) 4 d) 3 e) 1

Q2 a) 5 b) 1 c) 4 d) 2 e) 3

Q3 a) 2 b) 4 c) 3 d) 5 e) 1

Q4 a) 3 b) 2 c) 5 d) 1 e) 4

Your Perceived Value Score: _______

Now that you know what your Perceived Value Score is read what your score may indicate how you and others perceive your value personally or professionally. Take note of your rating number under the summary you fall under as you will need this to determine your productivity factor.

14-20 summary

You are very aware of your capabilities and have a healthy respect for what you can and cannot achieve but are not afraid to ask for direction when you don’t understand what is expected of you. You are a learner and are always looking to improve how you do things and try and understand what you do not know, however you have the ability to determine when you need to delegate or collaborate with someone else to get the job done. You understand that you don’t always have to shine and that the team is more important than the ‘I’.

If you fall into this category your Perceived Value Rating is 3

9-13 summary

You are very conscious of ticking all of the boxes however may be a bit too much of a people pleaser and this can have an impact on what you can achieve. Your manager knows he/she can rely on you to get the job done and your colleagues come to you as the first person when they need help. You make sure you know what you are doing so people will always see you as a go-to person. You will delegate, collaborate or ask for help if you are caught out but this is not something that you are comfortable in doing. You are happy to be a team player but prefer to be the leader or a lone wolf.

If you fall into this category your Perceived Value Rating is 2

4-8 summary

Everybody loves you at work. Your colleagues are more than happy to help you out as you are an all-round nice girl or guy. Your aim however is to make management think you are as great as your colleagues do and in doing that will happily steal their thunder for projects that they have completed in the guise of a team effort with you as the leader. Your work ethic cannot be questioned as you are always busy (but not necessarily productive) You choose what tasks that you want to do and what is advantageous for you to become involved in. It’s all about how people see you.

If you fall into this category your Perceived Value Rating is 1

Section 2: Discover how your time management could be impacting how productive you are

Choose the one answer you believe is most relevant to you for each of the below questions. Remember to be honest with your choices.

How do you plan your work day?

a) I just plough through the in-tray and inbox and prioritize according to pressure from above.

b) I spend the last 30 minutes of each day planning for the following day.

c) I shut of technology and focus on completing the most pressing task to meet deadlines.

d) I check my calendar first thing in the morning and do what I can between meetings.

e) I check my emails first thing in the morning and then do as many quick tasks as I can before attempting larger tasks.

How do you approach your projects?

a) I concentrate on one task and work on it till it is completed.

b) I assess the complexity of the project and delegate or collaborate with others where appropriate and then concentrate on the tasks that I have assigned to myself incrementally.

c) I breakdown a project into mini-tasks and reward myself after each one is completed.

d) I multi-task to make sure I get everything done as there is not enough hours in the day usually.

e) I do the most I can during the day but inevitably end up taking work home to get it completed more often than not.

f) B and C dependant on the project type.

How do you communicate internally and externally in the work place?

a) I use email primarily to manage enquiries to avoid time wasting.

b) I always talk to the person in the first instance and use non-verbal communication for follow up communication where appropriate dependant on the outcome of the first conversation.

c) I assess who I am communicating with before connecting with them and then decide which method is the most appropriate to communicate to get the best outcome.

d) I have a process whereby I use different communication methods for different stages of communication that I maintain and don’t deviate from this regardless of the person I am communicating with. That way I always know where I am at in the process. e.g. email, phone call, face to face meeting etc.

e) I document everything in my CRM and so long as I document that I have communicated one way or another I am managing the customer or department efficiently.

How well do you look after yourself?

a) I look after myself, eat and sleep well, take time out for me and schedule time regularly to exercise.

b) My personal time is just that – my personal time and I leave work at work.

c) I plan vacations in advance and take them regularly.

d) All of the above.

e) A and B only

f) A and C only

g) B and C only

Now check your results!

Q1 a) 3 b) 5 c) 4 d) 1 e) 2

Q2 a) 3 b) 5 c) 4 d) 2 e) 1 f) 5

Q3 a) 2 b) 4 c) 5 d) 3 e) 1

Q4 a) 4 b) 1 c) 2 d) 5 e) 5 f) 3 g) 4

Your Time Management Score: _______

Now that you know what your Time Management Score is read what your score may indicate how you and others may identify what your time management skills are. Take note of your rating number under the summary you fall under as you will need this to determine your productivity factor.

14-20 summary

You are very organised and recognize the importance of planning and prioritization needed to achieve outcomes. You are also aware that all tasks are not made equal and identifying what tasks need to be performed when and by whom is important to meeting deadlines and producing quality work. Time wasting is not something that you value and efficient communication is key to your workday. You are not a work place socialiser but prefer to manage your communications according to the relationship they play to the outcomes that they bring mindful of the role they play in the pipeline. To maintain your focus you are very conscious of looking after yourself and making time for yourself. This is the key to your consistency and focus.

If you fall into this category your time management rating is 3

9-13 summary

You are very priority driven and not afraid to focus on the task at hand however your approach to prioritization might not be as efficient as it could be even though you plan well and have the best intentions at the outset. This can lead to frustration as deadlines approach and you feel you cannot get the work done in time. You communicate well but sometimes over communicate with the assumption this will deliver a better outcome and this can prove to be a time waster. You do see yourself as a priority and look after yourself but will sacrifice your ‘me’ time in a heartbeat if work beckons and this can be to your detriment.

If you fall into this category your time management rating is 2

4-8 summary

You feel like you are overwhelmed and you just have too much work on your plate? This may be because you don’t plan well and your work day ebbs and flows according to who is pushing and pulling you. You feel a bit like a rag doll. Your intentions are good but you end up sacrificing quality for process. You tick the boxes to give the appearance that you are on top of things but never really achieve the outcomes or job satisfaction you are looking for.

If you fall into this category your time management rating is 1

So…What is your Productivity Factor

Add the sum of your Perceived Value Rating and your Time Management Rating to determine what your Productivity Factor is. This gives you an indicator of how productive you are now. (The ratings can be found under your score summary for each section of the quiz)

Now read on to discover what the indicative scale is for your Productivity Factor

Productivity Rating Scale

6- You are a very productive person both personally and professionally.

Congratulations! You know when to say yes and when to say no. Your focus is solely on balance and you achieve a lot more than the average person because of this. You are most likely in your dream job or on the ladder that you want to climb. Remember to not look down, keep focus and always embrace change to stay on top of your game.

5- You are up and down in how productive you are.

Some days you are on top of your game and achieve what you set out to achieve. You plan for the next day and then something goes awry and it throws you off the rails. This may also happen in your personal life where you forgo doing the right thing to look after yourself when you feel everything is not going the way you want it. You may only compromise yourself when one part of your personal or professional life throws you a curve ball. You quickly regain focus and are so organised that this is merely a speed bump in what is usually a straight and smooth road to success. You are likely happy with your career choices but at times get distracted and start to doubt yourself.

4- You need to step back and assess what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.

Where is the imbalance? Are you good at what you do but can’t apply yourself effectively or do you need to look at moving into a different role where you can be more productive rather than just doing the job. If you are average across both Perceived Value and Time Management you may need to reassess what you want to achieve and how you should go about doing that and reinvent your approach. It may be an indicator that you are not truly passionate about what you are currently doing.

3- You struggle to achieve the benchmarks you set for yourself and tend to give up before you get started.

You are happier when you are in a ‘worker’ role or part of a team with someone else telling you what happens next. Likewise you may prefer to be part of a group socially and go with the flow. This is great if that is your personality but you still need to set goals and celebrate achievements or you will not feel satisfied with your performance. You need to find out where your strengths and passion lie and embrace them.

2- You spend so much energy trying to make things happen that you create a domino effect and your life can be pretty chaotic.

If you work or live in a supportive environment this may disguise some of your self-imposed inadequacies but you will be exposed if you want to get promoted or change roles in your life. You need to assess what your plans are to make adjustments now to work towards improving yourself to make them a reality. Life is too short not to be happy.

It is never too late to improve how productive you are. This quiz is not an assessment of you or your performance but is merely an indicator of where you may need to focus to improve your productivity factor. The great thing about self-assessment is that it gives you the opportunity to reflect and make changes that will ultimately benefit you to be the best you can be. Isn’t that what we are all looking for….to be a better version of ourselves and of course be more productive?

Want to learn more about how to become more productive?

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

The Science of Productivity by AsapSCIENCE

In today’s crazy world, productivity is on the minds of many. So what can science tell us about the human brain and productive work? How do we become more efficient at working, and spend less time working overall?

Originally posted 2015-06-14 10:38:47.

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