Managers Can Improve Efficiency by Running Better Meetings

BY Kathy Crosett
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34% of sales professionals know that managing their time well is a key skill for them to master, according to our research. Their awareness of time may be why they so closely scrutinize their managers on this topic. 35% of sales professionals say their managers need to improve efficiency when it comes to holding meetings.

Improve Efficiency by Running Better Meetings

Ben Franklin reportedly once said that time is money. Sales professionals realize that they only have a set amount of time to connect with clients and prospects. And they don’t appreciate wasting time in internal meetings.

Experts point out that of the 31 hours a month that employees spend in meetings, 50% amounts to wasted time. Managers can cut down on wasted time by determining which meetings are necessary.

You may be in the habit of holding weekly department meetings. Too often, says Sanjay Khosla, a senior fellow and adjunct professor of marketing at the Kellogg School, these meetings are flawed. That’s especially true if the focus is on what has already happened.

Managers may believe that everyone should be kept up to date, especially when it comes to the weekly sales team meeting. They may also feel they are maintaining team comradery through a weekly meeting.

They can meet these goals, improve efficiency and cut meeting time in half by making a few changes.

Assign Prep Work in Advance

Some employees look at department meetings as an opportunity to complain about a problem that only impacts them. Other employees will hijack meetings with a detailed presentation designed to impress the supervisor. Managers can head off these problems by deciding when meetings are necessary and by planning in advance.

Team members frequently come to meetings expecting to be informed about a topic. It’s true that managers often need to inform their employees of changes. In most cases, they can improve efficiency by sending out an email or posting a note on an internal communication channel.

Meeting time should be reserved for topics that require teamwork and interaction. You can be efficient by following the Jeff Bezos, of Amazon fame, meeting rules.

Under Bezos’ tenure, presentations during meetings didn’t happen. All attendees shared their material in advance of a meeting. Everyone read the material and came prepared to discuss details and proposed actions during a one-​half hour period.

This strategy also means that managers should assign topics and roles to every participant ahead of time. To determine how to make these assignments, check out the psychometric assessments your employees have taken. If one employee shows leadership potential, ask them to lead the meeting on occasion.

As a manager, your role should also be to help participants stay on topic. When team members begin to drift, ask questions that will steer them in the right direction.

Who to Invite to the Meeting?

How often have you looked at the expressions of your meeting attendees? If they are clearly checked out, studying their phones, they don’t have a good reason for being in attendance.

Managers may invite new employees to meetings as part of their initial training or exposure to co-​workers. They should explain in advance that only employees who must actively participate in any meeting will attend on a regular basis. In fact, experts suggest that managers reconsider the need for any standing meetings. 

The start of a new year is a good time to make meeting changes. The need to improve efficiency should drive managers to think about how they and their team members spend their time. Updating the purpose and function of meetings is a step in the right direction.

Photo by Kindel Me on Pexels.