Meeting culture is certainly a part of an organization's culture. As for the rest of the organizational culture, the meeting culture is difficult to change. Changing the culture might be a matter that no one is able to, wants to, or even dares to attempt to change too much. And that is assuming anyone even recognizes that the meeting culture is a problem.
The meeting culture is a problem for many organizations. Nothing has changed in the way we have our meetings for the past, what? 20 years? Think about how much has changed in your organization (if it even existed) over the past 20 years. It seems quite crazy that we haven't changed the meeting culture as organizations have changed.
Train to facilitate better meetings
Often, much of what we do in regard to meetings is so routinely driven that we do not even question the form. We do not question who calls the meeting, who attends it, who makes the agenda, or who facilitates the meeting. And we might not even question why we are having the meeting at all.
The typical causes for inefficient meetings are:
🤨 The meeting is poorly prepared
😣 The purpose of the meeting is unclear
😕 Insufficient meeting facilitation, which can result in discussions flowing too freely without form
😤 Schedule being abandoned and the meeting running over time
🤔 Conclusions being unclear
😑 Insufficient follow-up
This adds up to wasting a significant amount of time with meetings that would otherwise help us achieve an easier and more efficient working day. But luckily, these are conditions that can be easily addressed and changed.
Practice makes perfect - also when it comes to meeting facilitation. If you believe your team needs a real, in depth training, you can book classes and take courses that will make you and your co-workers better prepared for calling, leading, and following up on efficient and good meetings – no matter your individual starting point.
If your meeting culture isn't that bad, but it still could use a loving, caring and improving hand check out the following tips:
👉 Focus on having a detailed agenda ready in time for every attendee to prepare thoroughly before the meeting
👉Try to challenge the attendees with time constraints - make them give an update in 1 min and 30 seconds for example
You could send the meeting leaders off to training, initially, but it may make more sense to involve an entire department or team and let them take part in the program together.
There are various suppliers and many of them will be able to fit a training program specifically to your needs. Although this is a process costing both time and money it may turn out to be a good investment in the light of the cost of inefficient meetings, that is – you guessed it – time and money!
First, you can try out these tips: Become a successful meeting facilitator
Hire a facilitator
Another model could be hiring in a facilitator to run your meeting. Someone like that could be in charge of the entire process from planning the meeting, calling and running it, to following up after the meeting, but a facilitator could also simply lead the meeting itself.
The drawbacks of hiring on a facilitator could be the vast amount of knowledge needed to take charge of the meeting, and you having to expose part of your business to an outsider, something many find difficult and daunting.
Outside consultants, however, are professional individuals and they will contribute with new perspectives, meaning that the sharing of knowledge can – and ought to – be an advantage. Being forced to explain what you do will cause you to reflect upon your own practices giving insights that might not otherwise be recognised.
You should view a facilitator of meetings as you would a couple’s counsellor – having him or her in the room grants the opportunity of bringing forth issues that are otherwise difficult to share openly. Furthermore, a facilitator will not be bound or restricted by any current norms – outspoken or not - of an office making tough choices and decisions easier.
Smarter meetings? Yes please!
If you liked this article from FirstAgenda, you’re probably on a mission to having more effective meetings – just like us! You might want to try our platform. It’s a simple tool that manages all your meetings and tasks in ONE place. Collaborate, assign tasks, add due dates and keep track of your team’s progress.