Do you want your meetings to be more productive?

One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is the length of time that is taken up in meetings.  According to an article on hubspot recently we will spend 31 unproductive hours per month in meetings. That is three quarters of a week! Or expressed another way almost 42 days every year!!! There has to be a better way

While at the gym the other day I was listening to a podcast Work that Matters as the Host Shawn interviewed Cisco Executive Ron Ricci regarding collaboration. And one of the nuggets that hit me was the idea to have meeting templates.  What a brilliant idea. According to Ricci there are three basic types of meetings and if we use meetings appropriately and set the expectations accordingly we can save significant time.

His meeting types are:

  • Engage – These meetings are to drive towards a decision. People are all aware of the goals and visions and the purpose here is to spend time discussing how to get it done. They explore operational requirements, resources, and business impact and so on.
  • Exchange – This is an exchange of ideas, think brainstorming.
  • Inform – to inform on progress. This can be like a progress or KPI (Key Performance Indicators) reporting session.

Often time people will be in a meeting called to exchange ideas and the meeting gets off into brainstorming territory. We are better served by sticking to our purpose so to speak as different participants bring different talents into the room.

Or I have seen several business reviews where it was to report progress and we got into a brainstorming session. If you are with a client and they want to solve a problem a limited brainstorming session may be appropriate but you may want to keep it brief so you can address the creative aspects of a brainstorming session without the “problem” mindset.

If you think about the meetings you have every day in your organization and how they could be better served think about developing a template that drives each meeting. (If you are going to a meeting without an Agenda…shame on you). Define the goals of the meeting, what s to be discussed and the type of meeting. If we are here to exchange ideas, there is no need to report out.

For more information on these meeting templates go to the collaboration imperative.

I am interested in what steps you are going to take to improve your meetings today.


Photos from Thinking Differently. Enabling Innovation Buffalo Business First – hosted this workshop.

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