Stop wasting time in agony: chair and participate in purposeful meetings

Many people love organising meetings. Many more people hate meetings and consider them as a waste of time. They suffer through them. They feel they are aimless, unproductive and inefficient.

Nevertheless, it is often necessary for teams and people to have meetings. The question is, how to make them productive, efficient and worthwhile.

See below a simple way to do so, both as the chair or a participant. Next time, make sure your meeting has a purpose and fulfils one of the five categories: IBAMA.

A large number of hours is wasted by organising, running or sitting in aimless meetings. Some research by Harvard Business Review suggests that executives spend nearly 23 hours a week in meetings. That is more than half of your average working week! And that does not even include all the impromptu gatherings. The survey also reveals that 65% of these managers think meetings keep them from completing their own work and 71% consider them as unproductive and inefficient.

To significantly improve the efficiency of meetings as a chair, define the purpose or the objective of the meeting. As a participant, depending on the purpose of the meeting, you also have a role in making it more efficient and productive. There are mainly five reasons why people meet.

These are: IBAMA

I – Informing
B – Brainstorming
A – Assessing
M – Motivating
A – Agreeing


Role of the Chair

As the host (chair, leader, manager, organiser, etc.), the most important element for you is to think about the “why” of the meeting, i.e. its purpose. Why do we need to meet? What is the purpose why I need to see all these people? Why do they have to meet face-to-face?

INFORMING: to inform others or each other (update, review, brief, weekly report, education, training, etc.)

BRAINSTORMING: to invent, conceive or reflect on new ideas (brainstorm about a topic, strategic plan, work plan, vision/mission, creation, conceptualisation, etc.)

ASSESSING: to feedback (debrief, analysis, assessment, performance appraisal, evaluation, action plan, etc.)

MOTIVATING: to inspire (stimulation, call for action, selling, marketing, ceremonies, etc.)

AGREEING: to decide (decision-making, resolution, agreement, task force, etc.)

From there, think about who needs to participate and to be included, and where and when specifically it should be held. Once you have crystallised the “why” of the meeting, it makes it already 50% more efficient!

Role of the Participants

As participants (contributors, staff, guests, etc.), you have another role, depending on the purpose put forward. You can make the meeting effective and productive by behaving differently and in accordance with the purpose.If the purpose is to:

INFORM: you ought to listen, ask clarifying questions. Just take in. Let it be short. KISS (keep it short and simple).

BRAINSTORM: you ought to be creative, express yourself, elaborate on your ideas, give crazy ideas, elaborate on them, think out of the box, input, input, input. Everything goes. Yes to all. Yes we can-attitude.

ASSESS: you ought to prepare, prepare, prepare. Be factual, analytical, constructive and specific. Quantify, provide numbers, dates or amounts. Listen actively and speak sensibly. Be sincere, honest and respectful. Propose solutions.

MOTIVATE: you ought to truly listen, to be open-minded, to engage constructively. Be critical yet with a positive attitude. Have an upbeat and exciting mind-frame.

AGREE: you ought to think about the pro’s and con’s, to prioritise. Be realistic. Express your needs, clearly state your position and be ready to compromise.

In an ideal comprehensive meeting, there is an IBAMA flow: first Inform, then Brainstorm altogether, then Assess and analyse, Motivate and inspire the team and, finally, Agree and decide.

The next time before You will have to organise or attend a meeting, make sure you are clear with the IBAMA!

If you are interested to pursue this further, I am happy to accompany you before or during your meetings. I can help You to make them a lot more efficient and enjoyable. I will advise and coach you with some specific tools and techniques on how to make them more efficient, productive, and time/cost-effective.

Your next meeting is surely waiting… Do You want to it be aimless or purposeful?

Contact me now!

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