Never Ever Underestimate the Value of a Great Meeting

The most universal and common business activity that takes place in every industry around the world is also the greatest source of anxiety, frustration, and stress. Meetings can be a valuable tool to drive an organization's goals forward, but when they're ineffectively planned and executed, they can result in decreased productivity, wasted resources, and diminished staff morale.

This report will explore the current challenges including what's at stake when ineffective meetings continue to occur, along with the benefits seen when organizations set themselves up for success through great meetings.

Never Ever Underestimate the Value of a Great Meeting

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Eric Lofholm
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Current State

On average, 56 million meetings take place every day across the United States alone. From a global perspective, those numbers are unknown but surely astronomical in size. It's suggested that at least 20% of meetings could be labeled as ineffective, although this is likely severely underestimated.

Interestingly, most businesses lack insight into this challenge as meetings are often the least evaluated activities, and the return on investment (ROI) of time and resources is often unclear. The reality is that billions of dollars are spent annually on meetings that are ineffective and fail to produce valuable results. This leads to staff experiencing meeting fatigue, time away from other priorities, stalled projects and initiatives, and an overall loss of productivity.

However, well-organized, high-functioning meetings can be the most valuable tool for an organization to drive their strategic and operational goals forward, and enable strong collaboration, communication, and culture.

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Understanding the Current Challenges

  • Most organizations suffer from decreased workforce productivity due to an overwhelming number of ineffective meetings.
  • The right meeting tools and resources are not always made available.
  • Meetings are not always well-aligned with strategic and operational goals.
  • Very few organizations adequately train their teams to effectively plan, lead, and follow up on high-functioning meetings.
  • There is often a lack of understanding of what meetings are taking place and how much time and resources are spent on this common activity.
  • We fail to measure the success of our meetings and understand the ROI.

It's important to also note that there are substantial emotional and cultural costs associated with poorly planned and executed meetings. These can include the following:

  • Participants feel that their time isn't valued
  • Teams experience meeting fatigue
  • Projects and initiatives stall and fail to move forward.
  • Communications can break down
  • Staff morale is impacted
  • Workplace culture slowly deteriorates
  • Unhappy staff can lead to higher turnover and decreased retention

The Value of a Great Meeting

Now, let’s consider what it looks like when all appropriate steps and measures are consistently in place, and meetings are well-organized and executed. We should never underestimate the value of a great meeting. When teams are equipped to plan, lead, and follow up on high-functioning, effective meetings, the following benefits can be seen.

  • Increased Staff Productivity – Meetings can be a valuable spend of time and increase staff productivity when they are intentional, organized, and well-facilitated. Highly productive meetings produce tangible results, move projects and initiatives forward, and provide clear accountability around roles and responsibilities. When careful consideration is taken around when teams should be pulled away from other priorities ensures this dedicated time is of significant value. 
  • Strong Collaboration and Engagement – Meetings provide the most ideal environment for sharing information, collaborating with key stakeholders, and engaging the right people who bring their knowledge, content expertise, influence, and decision-making to the table. 
  • Relationships Built on Trust and Communication – Meetings offer valuable opportunities for relationship-building. This is especially true when communications are clear, and a consistent approach is applied to how they’re planned and executed. Well-organized meetings with a clearly defined purpose, expected outcomes, and set expectations allow teams to better understand what is needed and design a path forward together. Consistently effective meetings build relationships based on trust and strong communications.
  • Successful and Sustainable Implementation of Projects – Projects move forward when meetings are well-planned and organized, have the right stakeholders at the table, and tasks and activities are clearly identified by a team. A great meeting is a key enabler to moving an initiative forward as project plans are defined, decisions are made, risks and issues are identified, and roles and responsibilities are assigned and agreed upon. 
  • “On-The-Job” Skills Training and Development – Meetings offer one of the best sources of “on-the-job” skills training in leadership, communication, and organization. They provide teams with skill-building opportunities including negotiation, public speaking, goal setting, time-management, active listening, etc. This is especially true for meetings that are consistently high-functioning as they provide an environment that enables growth for less-experienced staff who learn key behaviors and skills from more seasoned members of their teams.
  • A Supportive Culture and Work Environment – When teams are enabled to consistently lead effective meetings, organizations are more productive and profitable, people feel more valued and respected, and workplace culture and staff morale can flourish and thrive. Great meetings allow participants to feel valued for their input making them more likely to share their knowledge and expertise. Meetings also provide opportunities for milestones and accomplishments to be acknowledged, and key moments of success to be shared. 

How Do We Get Here?

While the road to reach this level of success differs from one organization to the next, a few steps that steer us in the right direction include:

  • Changing our mindset around how we think about and approach meetings and seeing them as valuable opportunities. 
  • Developing staff skills and providing team training to consistently plan, lead, and follow up on high-functioning meetings.
  • Providing the right meeting tools and resources to enhance and support discussions.
  • Implementing standardized meeting methodology and applying best practices.
  • Driving a collaborative and engaging culture that starts from the senior leadership level.

Organizations can consider completing a self-assessment to assess their current state, define where they want to be in the future, and then craft an appropriate strategy and roadmap to define their transformation journey to an increasingly productive workforce through effective meetings.

Natalie Berkiw-Scenna
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Natalie Berkiw-Scenna
Coach, Content Creator, Author, Speaker, Consultant
Subjects of Expertise: Project Management, Meeting Facilitation, Career Development
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Natalie Berkiw-Scenna
Content Creator

Subjects of Expertise

Project Management
Meeting Facilitation
Career Development

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