MEETINGS - an investment or a waste of TIME?

I really appreciate a meeting which is effective. By that I mean one which when I leave, I think – ‘that was an investment of my time’ and not ‘a waste of my time’.  As a sole practice operator, every minute and hour is an expense – I need to be able to account for my time.

When I calculate a client invoice, the solution and outcome are achieved involving many hours of design, preparation and delivery – and meetings – so, it's important ensure the meetings are a value-add.

So, when I do receive a request to attend a meeting I encourage:

Chairmanship – someone who is the ‘Guide’ - to look to for signals, to change the speed of discussion, to arrive at decisions, to direct our questions to and to encourage some thinking.

Time Conscious – start at the scheduled time – (I'm reminded of this at my kid’s school – if you’re one minute late – you need a Late Pass!!!!). The duration should not be onerous and pre-reading/viewing completed prior to attending.

Purpose – 3 questions: What’s the purpose? How do you expect me to participate? What’s to be achieved? **

Agenda – to be received with copies of reports and presentations - some people need to read and view information a couple of times to enable their contribution at a meeting.

Brain & Body Breaks – a meeting of 45 minutes or longer requires a break to allow for calls/texts, amenities/refreshments.  Don't fight nature – the brain will wander and the body rules!

Digital Attendance – we live in a digital world – Skype & Google Hangouts are simple mechanisms to attend meetings.

Record – it’s great to receive notes/minutes from a meeting, however I like to audio-record my meetings or components which require my attention. 

What do you expect and encourage at meetings?

**Meetings generally seek a decision. If you're canvassing ideas or to share a concept you may want to consider a forum, a facilitated discussion or be innovative.