13 dec. 2022
Meeting Effectiveness: Definition, How To Measure It And Optimisation Tips
Successful companies with high-performing teams attribute their success to effective, high-quality meetings. How your business structures its meetings is essential to determining what return you get from it and its role in moving your organisation towards meeting its goals.
This post will dive deep into meeting effectiveness, what defines it, how to measure if your team is having effective meetings and offer tips on optimising them for a better meeting ROI.
What Is An Effective Meeting?
The definition of an effective meeting will vary from one organisation to another. How you define it will determine the return on investment your business gets from each meeting.
At Tau Consulting, we define an effective meeting as one that starts with clear objectives and meets them, avoids time wastage and is auditable to ensure that you maximise meeting ROI.
What Are Some Ways To Run An Effective Meeting?
We recommend approaching company meetings, in-person or virtual, through three stages to run them effectively. We discuss them in detail below;
Stage One: Before The Meeting
The period before a meeting starts is crucial in ensuring that you plan the anticipated meeting to make it effective and have a positive ROI. Most organisations go wrong when they ignore this critical stage or fail to implement it well.
Before the meeting, ensure that you gauge whether having the meeting is necessary or not. Pondering this thought may often reveal that a meeting is not essential after all.
If having a meeting is a must, determine who are the right people to attend the meeting. Research shows that most European employees attend up to 62 meetings in a month, half of which are useless and would have been better if they were absent.
Proceed to set and send the agenda to the invited employees, set the time and communicate the expectation beforehand.
Stage Two: During The Meeting
The events during a meeting are significant determinants of how effective the meeting will be when it is audited later.
To ensure that the meeting runs effectively, start on time and avoid wasting time recapping for all attendees who come in late. It is a good idea to assign a time tracker who will ensure that there is minimal wastage or overdoing.
In 2020, most organisations reported having an average meeting time of 2 hours and 14 minutes. Businesses looking to have a positive meeting ROI today need to target having shorter meetings that are more productive.
Having a rotating meeting captain is excellent for ensuring you are inclusive and can give the meeting lead to different team members. This meeting captain is responsible for ensuring that in the meeting, you stick to the agenda.
Furthermore, the meeting captain also encourages the participation of everyone in the meeting either by chipping in verbally or through notes.
Stage two comes to a close with a summary of the meeting’s agenda, objectives and decisions. It is necessary to voice this to your attendees to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Stage Three: After The Meeting
Running an effective meeting is much about how you manage the events of the meeting before and during the meeting, and after it has happened. Many businesses are guilty of ignoring stage three and proceeding to plan another meeting, a cycle that ensures ineffectiveness becomes a recurring theme.
After the meeting is done, send notes to everyone that was in attendance as well as other members of your organisation who will be affected by the resolutions made.
Assign someone to follow up on these resolutions to ensure their implementation and that everyone stays on track with assigned tasks. It is also a good idea to give feedback at this stage and request it from those who were in attendance.
How Do You Measure The Effectiveness Of A Meeting?
Measuring the effectiveness of a meeting helps your company establish whether your meeting ROI is positive or negative and make the necessary adjustments. This process should focus on measuring the metrics most important to your organisation.
While it may vary from one business to another, the most common metrics we recommend you start tracking are;
The number of people you invite versus those who attend the meeting is crucial in helping you gauge the level of interest and value your employees attach to the meetings. Employees in the EU say up to 70% of the meetings they attend hinder them from doing actual work and hence would rather be absconded.
While it's common to focus on who came late to the meeting, also track who came in early and by how many minutes to help you measure its effectiveness.
c) Action Items
Meetings with positive action will see action items closed and completed on time after being decided in the meeting. Delays may be signs of a deeper problem that may need a strategy to address.
d) Engagement And Participation
Did everyone contribute an opinion during the meeting? How about engaging with other attendees or the content that was in use? 91% of employees admit to daydreaming during meetings, which is likely to affect their engagement and participation rates hence a good metric for measuring meeting effectiveness.
e) Time Planned
How did you plan to spend the time allocated for the meeting? Did the meeting captain keep everyone on their toes and ensure they kept time? Did anyone feel like they were not given enough time? Meeting effectiveness can be established by comparing how you planned to use time and how it was actually spent.
f) Decisions Made
Were you able to make landmark decisions in line with the objectives of the meeting? How many decisions were made, and what do they affect? An effective meeting will yield several decisions aligned with the meeting’s agenda and objectives.
Effective meetings are crucial for improving communication in the company, giving employees a sense of purpose and boosting productivity and engagement. Tracking meeting effectiveness starts with a deliberate decision to plan ahead, ensure meetings run smoothly and finally audit the ROI to gain insights on where to optimise.