Hello there! This is yet another terrific weekend, and a good opportunity for us to connect and share some business ideas. Today I will concentrate on business meetings. OK? This might look trivial to some people and enterprises but it’s not.
By the way, I don’t know how often you hold and attend meetings as an entrepreneur. My experience in the business world indicates that meetings are avenues where in many cases enterprises waste a lot of precious time. Nothing much is achieved, and ‘participants’ leave the meeting venue as raw and they came, sometimes terribly angry, and oftentimes with no value added to the enterprise. Of course a lot of value can be obtained through meetings, but this depends on how the meetings are managed. This is why I thought today I should shoot a blog regarding management of business meetings.
Have you ever attended meetings where you are not even aware of the participants? Or you neither knew the agenda nor the objectives of the meeting? What about the monologues, which are so boring that you feel like being excused to go and take a nap? And then of course the meeting aimed at simply belching out directives. Directives are good but you might not need a meeting just to issue directives. How about the meetings that drag on an on until you forget the first items on the agenda; or those filled with shouting matches and lack of courtesy? Do you really derive real value from your business meetings?
So, what are the top considerations an entrepreneur must know about business meetings? Let’s take a look.
- Consider the rational, participants, venue, timing and frequency of business meetings. Possibly I should simply say this. Please hold only necessary meetings, with the right participants, at the right venue and time, with optimal frequency. You are not going to call a meeting for example to tell people that you are travelling, or to say you need approval to buy car tyres or repair a sink. OK? That might not be a very important item. Again, not every Tom, Dick and Harry have to attend the meeting – unless otherwise. This is not to say that they are not an important element of your enterprise, but first things first. Additionally, never call a meeting at the time when people are preparing to go home for example. OK? You will earn yourself some bad names and silent curses for nothing. Also, if you become a ‘meeting boss’, I mean, everyday calling people for meetings or working through frequent meetings, you lose flavor as a leader. Don’t you think so? Get you execution culture right across the entity, and you don’t have to be in meetings always.
- Manage meetings proactively. It’s advisable to let your participants know in advance the need to review previous minutes for example, major decisions to be made in the meeting, reports and documents to be considered, venue and time etc. In advance does not mean thirty minutes or even two hours before the meeting. Do you understand? You can choose to be very scientific and say thirty minutes before the meeting qualifies to be tagged ‘in advance’. At least one to two days would be appropriate depending on the nature of business meeting and agenda. Other business meetings such as board meetings etc have some legal requirements and these are in their own class, and I’m not talking about them. Be smart Mr. Entrepreneur – Leader – CEO. Don’t ignore these things because you might make wrong assumptions and get very cross when you don’t see people turning up, or simply appearing and saying they need more time to study your voluminous report that you sent to them just half an hour before the meeting. Don’t you agree with me? Save yourself some trouble so that you can focus on important things in your enterprise.
- Ensure your meetings are lively, energized and are participative. Try and encourage good sharing of ideas and opinion, logical thinking, creative and innovative thinking, analytical and objective thinking, diversity, and other participative approaches. Don’t call people to a meeting and then talk until they get bored stiff. OK? Take interest in other participants and what they have on offer. Take collective responsibility. If you don’t take these issues seriously your meeting might be full of absent participants – I mean – physically present but emotionally and mentally absent. Can you afford this? Won’t your enterprise suffer as a result? Brief episodes of jokes and laughter are good as long as they don’t turn the whole meeting into a joke.
- Consider action areas and assign responsibility and action time-frame. Now, what really comes out of that meeting? Oftentimes there are action points, and these have to be assigned to someone for execution, within a given time frame. When your enterprise holds meetings and after two weeks action areas, responsibility etc remain as grey as the colour grey, then you need to style up and stop wasting God’s time allocated to you. By the way, I don’t like participants who can’t even jot down their action areas but wait until some equally lazy minute officer circulates those damn minutes after a full week. Do you get my point? In this case, you might have the second meeting with hardly any actions arising from the previous meeting being executed. What a waste?
- Don’t lose your temper because someone might pick it up. Come on. I’m talking about self-control and courtesy here. You can express your good, strong, directional, visionary and passionate ideas with courtesy. Mind your verbal and body language. Try and keep your ego in check, and if you think there are lesser mortals in the meeting room, you have got yourself to blame for bringing them in the first place. Do you understand me? Don’t assume that your being an entrepreneur-cum CEO cum Leader gives you the right to be disrespectful and abusive to people. Occasionally, someone will just pick up your temper, and convert it into a total mess that will be history in your enterprise. Haven’t you experienced some of these incidences in the business world? If not you’d better wise up now.
- Just KISS the meeting. Keep it short and sweet. Make the best possible use of time. It’s not just your time but everybody’s time, the enterprise’s time and humanity’s time too. Focus on the essentials. I say this because time seems to be a resource that is getting extremely scarce in this fast-paced world. Don’t you agree with me? This explains the craving to move at supersonic speeds. If you are the type that still has plenty of time to sprawl around, you are certainly not part of Generation Next, and you might not be able to build a very good and successful business catering for Generation Next clients, because time is a key component of human capital and business productivity. I can hear you say ‘take it easy’. That’s your opinion. If you work smart you will make the best possible use of your time anyway.
- Meetings are not venues for show downs and settling scores. Now, this bit is for some leaders and entrepreneurs who misuse meetings and turn them into venues for power show and settling scores. Mr. Entrepreneur, if you desire to talk some sense into that disobedient Marketing Manager, or that Production Manager that is messing up quality and forcing product recalls and rejections for your enterprise, or possibly that officer who months ago made some bad remarks to you; you can just call them into your office and close the door and then lecture them silly if you like. I wonder whether at the end of it all you will have won any warfare anyway, or whether you would have added value to your enterprise. It’s up to you. It is a lot of wisdom to be able to hold back some things and keep your temper and head. I would recommend for you John C. Maxwell’s ‘21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ or Jack Mitchell’s ‘Hug Your People’.
I think it’s time to run now. I hope you have got me right regarding these points above. If you choose to turn them down upside (he he he), that’s up to you.
Respectfully – and till then,
The Wise Entrepreneur