To meet or not to meet, that is the question?

Meetings while on one hand are a necessary part of communication within organisations and between suppliers and customers can also be a huge time waster if they are poorly managed, organised and end up being a talk fest.

The head of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Australian School of Business, Peter Murmann, has created a system called Meeting Meter that calculates the hourly cost of participants against the time of the meetings. It also includes an agenda module, which helps people to manage meetings, allocate time to each agenda item, and the rank the agenda in order of importance. It can be downloaded for free at

Whilst this tool measures the cost of the meeting, it doesn't measure the productivity or effectiveness of the meeting.

To keep your meetings effective, first determine the purpose of the meetings

In our company we have several types of meetings

  • Sales Meetings have a purpose of providing a product or service in the best light, handling any objections and encouraging the prospect to buy so will follow a set process controlled by the salesperson.

  • Project Meetings have a purpose of reviewing the progress of a project, planning outstanding work, identifying risks and issues and measuring against time and budget.

  • Brainstorming Meetings have a purpose of coming up with ideas or solutions within the framework of the problem and any boundaries that have to be adhered to.

  • Communication Meetings have a purpose of insuring that all team members are aware of what's going on and how it effects them.

  • Management Meetings have a purpose of the manager of each area of the business, reporting on weekly progress of their team against the business plan and KPIs

  • For each type of meeting you need to

  • have a definite start and finish time (although you may finish early)

  • a chairperson or facilitator of the meeting

  • an agenda with allocated time for each item, prioritised with most important items at the top, so if you don't make it to the low priority items, it doesn't matter

  • a set of action minutes so with dates and responsibilities so people can follow up on actions and decisions that come out of the meeting.

  • If you have any other meeting tips that you find make your meetings more effective, I would love to hear them.

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