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Effective Business Meetings For An Efficient Business

Updated on July 25, 2009

It seems that more and more people are spending their time in company meetings, so much so that making the most of this time through effective business communication is a top priority in the business world. Effective teamwork is vital to any business to understand fully all of the actions necessary for effective management before, during and after each meeting.

If you fail to take advantage of even one effective management opportunity, you will not be achieving the desired results from the time that you invest in conducting business meetings. This article is full of tips on how to conduct a business meeting and tricks of the trade to guide you through the meeting management process to help you reach your goal of being an effective manager and conducting a constructive, positive and effective business meeting.

The Negative Impact of Ineffective Business meetings

We have all seen the dread that comes over businessmen and women when the announcement of new company meetings is made. The majority of business professionals are working with thinly stretched schedules and heavy workloads as is and often board meetings are seen as a pointless waste of time. Sadly, this is because much of the time that is true. The main complaint about board meetings is that they are run poorly and nothing is ever accomplished.

Business professionals who have an eagerness to achieve occupational goals are particularly the ones affected negatively by ineffective meetings. To employees who are driven and focused on achieving goals and completing tasks, ineffective meetings are nothing more than a nuisance to managing business that interrupts productivity. For this reason, many employees will become less satisfied with their jobs the more ineffective group meetings they are required to attend.

Bored Meeting

(c)tiarescott @ Flickr.com
(c)tiarescott @ Flickr.com

On the contrary, employees with low levels of accomplishment and ambition actually enjoy unproductive meetings. This is mainly due to the fact that team meetings are a welcome interruption that allows them time to socialize with fellow workers.

Various studies indicate that ineffective group meetings are particularly detrimental to corporations. Research found that the level of effectiveness of business meetings is the most influential component of job satisfaction. The more time employees are asked to spend in unproductive business meetings, the less satisfied they would become with their current jobs and most likely part ways with the company.

Regrettably, fruitless business meetings have become quite standard. Many times, employees will leave a business meeting wondering why the company would want to waste their time so, as no clear outcome was the result. In fact, even managing business meetings where a clear purpose is present can be difficult, because the discussion can easily drift from the main topic or can be taken over by someone with his or her own agenda.

(c) Ihl at Flickr.com
(c) Ihl at Flickr.com

How Much Time Do You Spend In Business Meetings?

A few years ago, Microsoft surveyed 38,000 people all around the world. Reportedly, an average worker only feels productive three days out of the week. Ineffective business meetings were ranked at the top of the list, as one of the biggest wastes of time. Rounding out the top three on that list were lack of communication and unclear objectives, which can also be the result of ineffective meetings.

The survey indicated that on average, business professionals spend 5.6 hours per week in a business meeting of some kind. However, 69% of the people surveyed feel that these meeting are just not useful. In the United States alone, the number increases to 71%.

Getting More From Business Meetings

Even though the majority on engineers and managers feel that meetings are ineffectual and overpriced, they also know how important this type of internal communication is to the survival of their business. Meetings can take a long time, lose focus and at times seem completely unnecessary. On the other hand, business meetings are not essentially insignificant, just often poorly planned.

In order to get the most out of your team meetings, you have to understand what a meeting is exactly. Effective meetings are not the goal, but merely a vehicle to help you achieve your goals. Conducting business meetings are the ideal way for a group of professionals to determine the best course of action related to various issues within their corporation through effective teamwork. Business meetings have the potential to be efficient planning and effective business communication vehicles, but only when carefully planned with close attention to detail before, during and after the meeting. The solution you are after is not less meetings, you simply need to ensure that the meetings you do have are as effective as possible.

In order to get the most out of a business meeting, you must stay focused before, during and after the meeting. Knowing how to conduct a business meeting is crucial to the success of any effective manager. Before you begin, designate someone to take minutes of meetings. After the meeting, distribute minutes of meetings to all participants so they can stay on track with what was accomplished during the meeting. It is also a good idea to combine or alternate boardroom meetings with online meetings. You will achieve higher attendance using this method, as more people will be available for online meetings.

The fact is that effective business meetings are the true backbone of corporate success. Business meetings provide a setting where ideas can be created, problems can be solved and in some cases, history can be made. The door of opportunity swings wide open when you realize what it means to have a genuinely effective business meeting.

The main points to remember are plan for an effective business meeting, stay focused, get results during an effective meeting, and always follow up after an effective meeting. Stick to this formula and you will be amazed at the outcome.

My Books on Meetings

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by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, author of two books on Meetings, and owner of international writing agency www.ExquisiteWriting.com 

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    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image
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      Julie-Ann Amos 9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Thanks for the comments as always.  I taught meetings skills for many years as a management trainer, but am never sure why exactly rotten meetings are so common.  Bad chairmanship I guess.  But then I remember the story my training partner Richie told me once - he was a school governor (a life spent in interminably boring long LONG meetings as a rule). 

      When the Chairman went sick one time, Richie was asked to stand in.  As a Management Trainer and he and I had specialised for years in meetings training, he was full of enthusiasm.  That week the 5 hour evening meeting too 2 hours, got throguh the entire agenda and had everyone delegated with an action list.

      He was just getting in his car, cock-a-hoop when he oevrheard 2 of the participants talking by the car park gate. "Well I'm not coming again if HE'S running it" one said.  "It was horrible compared to our usual evening.  No time to think or discuss.  Like being in the Army"

      Sometimes it's a matter of perception.  One man's boring may be another man's interesting etc.  One man's lengthy may be another man's evening out.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 9 years ago from Madrid

      It is de rigeur, Iphigenia, but methinks some people aren't paying attention when such courses are being delivered :-)

      Julie, I have to agree with what you write, I'm one of those folks that spends about 4 out of 5 days going from one meeting to the next, mostly of the virtual variety. In my experience, there are two general rules of thumb that at least guarantee that the meeting will be sort of effective (if not 100% effective): preparing BEFORE the meeting, and Inviting the right stakeholders. Kudos to you.

    • profile image

      Iphigenia 9 years ago

      This is a really informative Hub and the advice is spot on. It's many years since I've had to attend such a meeting and one o te big reasons that i saught self-employment was to escape what can be pointless hours spent getting annoyed and, no doubt, being annoying.

      However, it is good to see someone write a no-nonsense pece on how these things should be run. This sort of material should be de rigeur on business management courses.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      I spend very little time in meetings, fortunately, for the sake of my mental health!

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 9 years ago

      I have been in many meetings where one question destroys the meeting. Someone will ask a question and someone will answer the question and another won't like the answer and then it starts. You must has a strong leader to preside over the meeting. I also know what happens when you don't have meeting. The people doing the work begin to feel like mushrooms. The term mushroom is one who is kept in the dark and fed bull****.

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