When you call a face to face meeting…make it count…

In today’s Web-enabled world, the world is the global village and we are all called from time to time to visit the local watering hole, to get our heads around the latest and greatest management priority that needs to be dealt with.

A key difference these days is that we no longer harbor any expectations that the meeting in question is going to be face to face. You see, we are more accustomed these days, to pick up the phone and dial into a conference call, with fellow callers sometimes situated in entirely different Countries and/or Continents so to speak…

But regardless how we choose to call these group discussions, the essential disciplines that we all learned eons ago remain as current and as topical today, in spite of the continental shift in the way Technology has transformed our business model these days.
Typically…two people talk…3 or more people necessarily, meet!

Top considerations to ensure that the valuable time we invest in face to face meetings is not wasted:

1. Develop the Agenda (define what information is to be shared and what information needs to be processed or worked on – these are the jugular issues that need to be debated until agreements are reached by all)

2. Agree on the meeting objectives and outcomes – what will we all take away from the meeting

3. Agree on/assign roles (who is the principal Speaker or Chair, Who is the timekeeper, who is the facilitator, who is the scribe –  to ensure proper Minutes are taken and distributed, are there any guest speakers or subject matter experts included?)

As you can see, the basic 3 requirements for running effective meetings are significant enough to add up the costs rather rapidly. Now factor in the attendees and their associated costs and you have the makings of a decent dent in the organization’s operating costs.

So what options do we have, even though we may believe that a face to face meeting is the only way to go?

The obvious options include:
Video Conference
Skype or other available audiovisual media
‘Cloud’ based meeting

I have learned over the years that the belief that we cannot do without something we have always done in the past…is utterly antithetical to the   current environment.

We are often simply told or directed to do things a certain way, without the luxury of choice…and generally we do seem to come out none the worse for the wear.

So the next time you are planning a modest face to face meeting with your team…try this.
Calculate the cost associated with all the participants (their weighted average salary costs for the time it takes to attend the meeting, the potential cost of lost opportunity because they are unable to execute their primary roles during the meeting, as well as all the other overhead that goes into scheduling and running an effective meeting).

Now communicate to the team that you  intend to call a face to face meeting  and would like their inputs on whether the objectives of the proposed meeting could be met without meeting as a group. Also let them know what it will cost you to implement the meeting as planned.
I would suggest that if it is possible at all to accomplish the objectives in a non-face to face meeting setting, your team would be best positioned to make that call.
If they do great  – and you’ve saved the business some money.
If they don’t agree it can be done without a face to face meeting, the good news is that you will have a significantly more serious group, given their
newfound awareness of how much the meeting is costing the business.

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