The 30 Minute Meeting…

Josh Hawkins
April 24, 20152 mins read

Every day, week and month I have meetings in my diary for 30 minutes; upon reflection I cannot remember a single meeting that has only lasted 30 minutes and I never think pre-meeting – “This will 100% take longer than 30 mins”.

So what has changed? 

My view is that there needs to be a focus on planning before the meeting and an agenda in place – if both of these are covered off and adhered to then the outcome should be an effective meeting. Forbes published an article on “the 7 steps to running the most effective meetings possible” – which you can see HERE in full. 

Firstly – Establish a clear objective that you wish to accomplish by holding the meeting – if that is not there, don’t have a meeting. 

Secondly ensure that the attendants are relevant – think about the objective you have identified and then invite the people that will add value to achieving that objective and/or people that are affected by whatever the outcomes of any changes. 

Essentially then the key thing is to stick to the outlined schedule and do not allow anyone to hijack the meeting – this is usually best achieved by always appointing someone to chair the meeting and control the flow of input. This person needs to also make it clear that the meeting will be finishing on time and move through the agenda appropriately. 

Controversial in 2015, but ban technology (unless it is being utilised for the purposes of the meeting obviously) – phones, tablets and laptops are distracting and in busy business environments it is easy to feel so connected that we are actually very disconnected from the task and indeed the human in front of us! 

Once the meeting is over there needs to be follow up – an email with the notes and the action plan that was agreed upon – accountability to commitments that were under taken within the meeting is essential or you have just wasted half an hour – without the delivery you have spent 30 minutes have a chat essentially. 

 In summary to hold effective meetings you must: -

  • Take the time to prepare
  • Have clear outcomes in your plan
  • Put some thought into participants – do not apply the ‘usual suspects’ mentality
  • Identify a suitable chair person to manage the inputs and timescales
  • Ban unnecessary technology in the meeting – if caught, then chief tea maker for the day would be a more than proportionate punishment for the crime! 
  • Agree on the action plan and follow up to insure accountability – especially for anyone charged with tea duties!
Josh Hawkins's picture
Associate Manager