Studies show millions of meetings are held each day in the United States and that thousands of dollars are spent per meeting hour where the meetings include multiple executives as attendees. Are all these meetings a business investment or a waste of time? Sadly many of those same studies indicate the managers attending the meetings felt up to half their time investment was wasted. If meetings are important enough to hold, then why don't the bosses of the organization insist they be better lead?
Can the gift of better meetings be this year ultimate management prize? If meeting leaders can learn to accomplish more in the same amount of time or less, then the answer is most definitively yes. If the answer is yes, then how can this gift of better meetings come about?
There are lots of good training courses and books on meeting management. When looking for a good meeting leadership course, besides using the words "meeting management", search for courses that include some form of lead or facilitate in the course title. Sometimes meeting management course titles seem to be disguised as something else or the meeting training is a component in a larger package offered as a longer workshop. The benefit of taking a course is concentrated effort on learning the tools and techniques along with networking and ideas from other course participants who have the same business world experiences. The main disadvantage is time away from the job to attend the course, which is why many do not take advantage of this formal training option.
Reading and following a book on meeting management is a viable alternative to formal training, if the meeting leader commits to following the guidelines and the book includes examples or usable forms. One option with examples and forms is the new book "RA! RA! A Meeting Wizard's Approach" (ISBN 1-4196-5367-9). This book and others on meeting management may be bought through Amazon or ordered from bookstores. The primary advantage of informal learning from a book is that it is portable and may be read on or off work hours using small segments of scattered time rather than consecutive hours. Books often include the same benefit of tips, tools, and techniques but in a different format than found in a formal course. The disadvantage could be the lack of networking and discussion with other course participants who are learning the meeting leadership material at the same time. However, this disadvantage may be overcome by forming a book study group at the jobsite or having a regular meeting team explore the book's materials and learn better meeting management together.
Going back to the meeting studies, they also show that the number of meetings is increasing and their duration is too. To save dollars, time, and management worry – offer bosses the gift of better meetings as a direction towards higher profits and increased productivity. Better meetings lead to more productive employees, less time and dollar cost wasted, and less cost means higher profit margins. Make meetings a business investment instead of a waste of time by reading a book or attending a course so more people become better meeting leaders. Give and share the gift of better meetings this year.