4 tips to help you recover from a bad business meeting

Research shows that the United States wastes $37 billion per year in unwarranted and bad business meetings.

Most professionals have to attend business meetings throughout their careers — with many doing so on a daily basis. Because of this, business management is crucial.

Professionals and managers alike should ask themselves if their last meeting was effective? Did everyone participate? Were the right people invited? And, did the meeting achieve its purpose?

It is up to the chairman or the manager to ensure that the environment will have a positive impact on the outcome of the business meeting. If the person in charge fails to perform his or her role, then the meeting may end up being meaningless, and gain the title of a “bad business meeting.”

According to research, more than 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. daily, with many professionals attending 61.8 meetings per month. With so many meetings planned, professionals could lose 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, which equals about four work days.

Author of “Death by Meeting,” Patrick Lencioni, stated that ineffective meetings cause human anguish in the form of anger, lethargy, cynicism and can even cause lower self-esteem.

To avoid this, the person in charge has to plan accordingly. You have to remember that preparation time and meeting productivity go together.

If you have been the one in charge of a meeting that went off the beaten path, follow these tips to start the road to recovery.

  • Spend more time on the attendee list: It’s easy to invite the whole department, but maybe the entire team isn’t needed. I recommend carefully asking yourself who is needed and who potentially could receive an email with notes detailing the meeting. Think of it this way, if you reduce an hour meeting by five people, that’s five hours of time productively going back into the company.
  • Spend extra time on the agenda: It’s the organizer’s responsibility to be clear on the objectives that need addressed. If you are unsure about what needs discussed, then more than likely the meeting time is going to be a waste. If needed, always put extra time into the agenda to ensure a smoother and effective meeting.
  • Schedule the meeting for half the time you originally do: Think of it this way, if you allot two hours for a meeting then you are probably going to stretch the meeting to fill two hours. If you think it’s doable, why not schedule the meeting for an hour, and you’ll do what you need to in a tighter time period. This also helps you to stay on topic.
  • Don’t start a minute late: Nobody enjoys sitting in a conference room and waiting for the meeting to actually begin. If you start, not waiting on stragglers, then they, too, will get the idea to arrive on time. This ensures that you don’t waste the time of the ones who are punctual, and you’ll develop a reputation for promptness.

Nothing happens overnight, so stay on track and don’t get discouraged. But, by following a few helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to meeting success.

Michele Cuthbert is the CEO and creator of Baker Creative, a global WBE-certified creative brand management firm based in Ohio.