Here’s the thing

You know that meetings are essential.

But usually these meetings can be a total waste of time and are not effective.

But don’t worry, we are here to help.

Here is a guide to help you get most out of your meeting

1) One-on-Ones


These are regularly scheduled meetings between you and your subordinates. The main purpose of these meetings is mutual teaching and exchange of information.

How often these should run?

It depends on the nature of the job and how much experience the subordinate has in the task.

You should have it frequently (once a week) with someone who is not experienced with the task and less frequently (once every three weeks) with someone who is experienced.

Another factor to consider is, how quickly the job area can change. In marketing, for example, the pace is so rapid, the supervisor will need frequent one-on-ones.

How long should they last?

They should last one hour minimum. The subordinate must feel that there is enough time to broach and get into thorny issues.

Where should the meeting take place?

It’s better if you can meet in the subordinate’s office. This way you can check whether your subordinate is organized or not. Does he repeatedly search for required documents? Is he interrupted often?

Key points about one-one

The agenda and tone should be set by the subordinate.

This is important, as the subordinate will be forced to think in advance of all the issues and points he wants to raise. This is will give him time to gather supporting documents.

What is to be covered in this meeting?

  • You can start with performance figures, indicators used by the subordinates. Focus especially on the indicators that are signaling trouble.
  • Anything important that has happened since the last meeting
  • Potential problems. Even if it is only intuition, it is advisable for the subordinate to discuss it with the manager.
  • You should also discuss heart-to-heart issues during the one-on-one, this is the platform to talk about deep work-related problems. Is the employee satisfied with his performance? Are there doubts about where he is going? Is he unhappy about something?

Four key tips for effective one-on-ones

  1. Both the manager and supervisor should have a copy of the outline and make notes.
  2. Meeting notes should be made into action items, this can be followed up on the next one-to-one.
  3. Use a Google Doc, where the supervisor and subordinates can accumulate important but not urgent issues for discussion.
  4. One-on-ones should be held regularly, and in a scheduled manner.

Why is a one-one important?

Suppose you have a one-on-one every two weeks for 90 mins. This can significantly enhance the quality of the subordinate’s work for the next two weeks.

A one-on-one meeting is the only way that effective delegation can take place.

2) Team meetings

These are also regularly scheduled meetings. You can conduct them on a daily basis or once a week.

As the name suggests it should include all the team members. This meeting also presents an opportunity for peers to interact with each other.

You can learn a lot from the exchanges and confrontations that often develop. You will gain a much better understanding of the issue by listening to two people of opposing views.

What should be discussed in the staff meeting?

Anything that affects more than two people. If the meeting degenerates into a conversation between two people working on a problem which affects only them, then you should break it off and move to problems that affect more of the team, while suggesting that the two continue their exchange later.

How structured should these meetings be?

They should be mostly controlled, with an agenda issued far enough in advance, so that the team members can come prepared. This also includes an “open session,” where the staff can bring about anything that they want. This is an opportunity to take a first look at important issues. If justified, you can assign a more formal time to take the discussion further.

Three key tips for effective team meetings

  1. You should never lecture in a team meeting, nor pontificate, which is the surest way to undermine free discussion.
  1. Your main role is to be a moderator and facilitator. Ideally, you should keep track of issues, with the team members working through the brunt of the issues.
  1. A team meeting is an ideal meeting for decision making.

3) Operation review


These are scheduled less frequently, you can have them once every quarter.

Here, you are creating a platform on which people, who otherwise don’t have an opportunity to deal with each other, get a chance to interact with each other.

The format here should be seminar presentations, where managers describe their work to other managers who are not their immediate supervisors, and to peers in other parts of the company.

The basic purpose of the meeting is to keep the teaching and learning going on between employees who may be several organization levels apart.

The junior person will benefit from the comments, criticisms, and suggestion from the senior managers. .

4) Decision Meetings


Unlike the meetings mentioned above, which are regular affairs, decision meetings are held more ad hoc and are designed to produce a specific outcome.

The success of these meetings depends on what the chairman of the meeting (the person who calls for the meeting) does. He/She has a greater stake in the outcome of the meeting than the others.

If you are the chairman of the meeting, you need to have a clear understanding of:

  • The objectives,
  • What needs to happen,
  • Any decision that needs to be made.

Before calling for a meeting you need to ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish? Is a meeting justifiable?

Meetings are expensive. Each manager’s time including overheads can work out to $120 per hour. So if you are calling a meeting for five people that lasts for two hours, you are costing the company $1200 dollars. Hence, you need to consider whether a meeting is necessary, or a one–on-one will suffice.

As the chair of the meeting, you are responsible for organizing it. You will be sending out the invites with a clear agenda that states the purpose of the meeting and also clearly defines everyone’s role. This way all participants are well prepared for the meeting and no one’s time is wasted.

Once the meeting is over, it is your job to distribute the minutes of the meeting.

During the meeting you should be clear and specify what should be done and who should do it.

Summarize the discussion that occurred and the decision made and send it all to all participants before they forget.

All this may seem too much trouble, but if the meeting was worth calling the first place. The minutes of the meeting is a small additional investment.

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