On the one hand it is a critical mistake to neglect to hold meetings. Meetings enable the sharing of ideas, the communication of progress, the sorting of problems and the cohesion of the team. But on the other hand, meetings take time. And too many meetings can in fact be costly, slow down progress and actually be a hindrance as much as a help. So here are some ideas to reduce the number and cost of your meetings.
Eating is essential but does your meeting have to involve a meal? And if so, why a banquet? By scheduling your meeting to run between certain hours it may be possible to eliminate a meal altogether. Or a meal could become finger food and the business of the day continues.
Can you delegate or outsource to cut down the activities you would normally attend to at a meeting? By taking total responsibility for a variety of tasks, you commit yourself to a locked-in time component. If you pass some tasks or duties to another, less time is taken at meetings knowing the work has been delegated.
Too heavy an itinerary is bad for business. If you plan too many activities for the meeting, members become tired. People cannot concentrate ‘flat out’ for long periods of time. Getting through many items may look good on paper but were the best decisions made? This may well be a case where less is more.
Deal with as few suppliers or vendors as possible. Each new supplier is another contact person, another set of accounts and another potential problem. The fewer outsiders you have to deal with the better from a cost point of view and also in time. One call can do it all.
Share and share alike. If you have a seminar or conference planned, joining forces with another company to buy accommodation and facilities will mean a reduced rate. Buying in bulk always saves. Using the same caterer, printer and technical crew can work out considerably cheaper than had the two companies operated alone.
Can you go online? The number of meetings where members are not all together in the one room is forever growing. With fellow directors in different countries, webinar and phone hook-ups have become commonplace. By all means consider such A/V technology but never forget that face to face meetings involve emotion and body language and these two ingredients alone can make or break a meeting.
A meeting works best when there are positive outcomes and little if any need for follow up meetings. Plan to achieve those outcomes and everyone becomes a winner.
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