5 E’s make better meetings

 In Business decisions, Collaboration, Communication, Insights, Productivity, Realizer Blog, Teams

It’s likely that you spend between 10-50% of your working life in meetings. That’s up to 1,000 hours a year. And yet, it’s just as likely that you’d say the meetings you have aren’t as effective as they could be. So why is no-one addressing this huge productivity problem?

As part of our focus on productivity we piloted a specific intervention to get better meetings at a law firm.

We developed a 5 step system to have great meetings, based on the latest available research and our experience.

The 5E’s for better meetings

  1. Set Expectations. What’s the agenda, and why should you come? This helps set the meeting off in the right direction, and it helps keep on track and reduce side tracks.
  2. Everyone. The best meetings seek to get a wide set of opinions, not just the same two people every time. Diversity of opinion leads to more ideas and better decisions. The best teams, according to Google research, show equality of contribution in meetings.
  3. Efficiency. Does the meeting have to last an hour? Can we do it standing up? Can we avoid side tracks and tangents?
  4. Enjoyment. People do enjoy good meetings as we are social animals. So how can you bring some interest and enjoyment to the session? Can you vary the location, encourage constructive debate, add a segment on innovation, include a brainstorm?
  5. Endings. In the last 5 minutes, do you do a wrap up to summarize what’s been agreed and who will do what? Checking in to see what everyone thinks has been agreed is a great move to avoid ambiguity.

We’ve designed a diagnostic tool which we use with the team to assess a range of behaviours under these headings. We can then show the results to the team and get them to come up with realistic ideas to overcome the major obstacles. These can be prioritised and owned by different people to ensure follow up from the session.

And subsequently we can re-run the diagnostic to see whether meetings have become more effective and efficient.

Our pilot hasn’t finished yet, but immediately after the session, our key client wrote, “Great ideas, which are already positively impacting our business.”

Written by Rob Pyne