The Netherlands has many nice traditions. We like good company, celebrating St Nicholas, food automats, raw herring and now we have all gotten used to celebrating King’s Day instead of Queens’ Day. These are some of the good traditions. But we also have customs that are not so good. For example, take those endless meetings. Thanks to our democratic genes, we often discuss and compromise far longer than necessary.
60 billion euros a year spent on meetings
The average Dutch employee spends 6 ½ hours a week in meetings and the higher up you are in the organization, the more hours you spend in them. All that meeting time costs the Dutch a total of about 60 billion euros a year. And this 60 billion does not include things like the hire of the meeting room, catering and other external costs (such as travel expenses). So these are all good reasons for handling meetings more efficiently. The following tips may help your organization dispense with meetings that last too long.
Tip 1: Less is more
You can take the first step towards faster meetings by ensuring that you have to take account of fewer opinions. That’s why it’s important that the initiator and organizer of the meeting takes a critical look at the number of participants invited. Maybe that takes a bit of getting used to (not just for the organizer but also for their colleagues) but the more critically you handle invitations in your preparation, the more effective the meeting will be. Another move that you can make to ensure that meetings are more effective is to invite certain colleagues only for the specific item on the agenda that’s relevant for them.
Tip 2: Clear goals
A lot of time can be saved not just in the meeting itself but also in preparation. Because no less than 30 billion of the expenses of meetings are spent in preparing for the meeting. Would you like your colleagues to need less preparation time, and use the meeting time as effectively as possible? Then supply them with a clear agenda with general goals and preferably also a firm objective for each item. Should an opinion be expressed? Is the meeting strictly for information purposes? Or should a decision be reached? If your colleagues know what is expected of them, they will use their time effectively and you will achieve the best result together.
Tip 3: The New World of Meeting
Increasingly more companies are stimulating the New World of Work. This is only logical as it’s now very normal to use a flexible pool of professionals. Besides that, partly due to all the digital developments, the division between private and professional life is becoming vaguer. You don’t need much for the New World of Work – just a good laptop, good IT tools and a fast Internet connection. Then you can work anytime, in any place. If you add a good meeting tool to the mix, your colleagues can also work in the New World of Work and hold meetings from anywhere. Because why should you have to sit around a meeting table at every meeting when you can save a lot of travel time by alternating face-to-face meetings with online meetings?
For the new world of meeting, there are also a number of new rules that help you to hold even more effective meetings. If you would like to know more, download the e-book ‘The 7 Rules of New Meetings’ here and say goodbye to your bad meeting traditions.