AFA gets Lean – and I don’t mean by losing weight (although we do that too!). Lean organizations maximize value while minimizing waste. That means streamlining processes to focus time, resources and money on the things that bring the most value to Customers, Colleagues and the community. One way we do that is by improving our meetings – the bane of many corporate employees’ existence. Paula Liotine, process improvement project leader at American Fidelity, helps Colleagues improve their meeting facilitation skills to get more out of meetings. We’ve all been to meetings that don’t seem to have a purpose, we don’t know why we’re there or what we’re supposed to accomplish and we end up staring out the window daydreaming or answering emails on our phones. Paula works with Colleagues so we make more effective use of everyone’s time and resources by hosting better meetings. Paula’s Top Five Meeting Improvement Tips:
- Determine if you even need a meeting. Can you just get or share the information by phone or email?
- Use technology. Not all meetings have to be face to face. Instant messaging tools can include multiple participants. Some can do video conferencing, or you can use tools such as Skype to meet without even leaving your desk. These tools can help keep meetings short and focused and can save time from having to travel to different locations to meet.
- Create an agenda. Before you schedule a meeting, create an agenda that includes the purpose and desired outcomes for the meeting. Then, share this information with the attendees before the meeting.
- Keep in mind the time. Many people schedule meetings for an hour by default. Do you really need that much time? Do you just need to schedule a quick 15-minute update? Can you schedule your meeting to start 15 or 45 minutes after the hour to give attendees travel time in between other meetings?
- Ask the implementation question: WHO is going to do WHAT by WHEN and HOW? Make sure to clarify decisions and assignments and set deadlines so you don’t have a flurry of “now what did we decide to do?” emails after the meeting or miscommunications.
Paula recently shared these tips and more with the Central Oklahoma Chapter of American Society for Training and Development at their August monthly meeting and is a certified Lean Facilitator, Lean Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt. We’re lucky to have her and her team keeping us on track at AFA! We’ve implemented many of her team’s ideas and have no-meeting Fridays to help Colleagues have focused time to complete their projects. How do you stay on track during meetings? Share your tips in the comments!