Have you ever received a notification for a staff meeting and dreaded the event? You knew the meeting would take you away from other projects, and would likely be unproductive.
Now, you are in charge of helping to set up these meetings and are finding it hard to meet your objectives and engage your staff. Well, you aren’t alone. Many feel that meetings are not worth the hassle. Individuals are said to be attending roughly 62 meetings a month, and workers are approximately spending 31 hours a month on unproductive meetings.
The goal should be to maximize productivity while ensuring your dealership team is on the same page.
Below are some hacks you can use at your dealership to ensure your meetings are effective, productive, and collaborative.
Keep it Short (Or Break It Up)
The average person can spend 10 to 18 minutes paying attention to something before their mind strays. So, you have a limited amount of time to encourage engagement. Capitalize on this time by getting the most crucial parts of what you need to discuss out of the way first. Also, try to keep meetings to a manageable time. If you need to go over 30 minutes, schedule a part two for the next day. If you are having a more extended strategic meeting (like retreats), break it up into 20-minute increments to allow people to recharge.
Give Your Team Time to Prepare
When everyone sits down for the meeting, no one should be surprised regarding what to expect. Everyone should know what is going to be discussed. So, produce an outline or agenda before the meeting, and give it to all attendees. Then, allow everyone to gather the documents necessary to participate. This step will ensure the session moves faster as everyone will have the information needed to discuss relevant topics.
Only Invite Individuals That Need to Be There
One of the most frustrating things for employees is when they are asked to attend a meeting because they “could” be needed. You are losing money and valuable time by having people come to the meeting that should not be there. So, if you do not need direct information from this person, don’t have them attend. You can always talk to others offline if you need additional information. Also, if you have an employee that cannot be there because of project or task deadlines, allow them to skip it if possible. Someone can always fill them in on the critical details later on.
Leave Progress Updates or Less Urgent Information for Emails
Do not create a meeting for something that can be conveyed over email. If you need to announce something or quickly update teams on the status of a project, use email or an instant messaging app like Slack. If it is not a topic that needs everyone’s input or the approval of multiple stakeholders, then disperse this information using digital tools. Remember, you are trying to maximize time, and you can do this by identifying what does (and doesn’t) need to be discussed.
Avoid Getting off Topic
Stay strict with the proposed topics. If another issue is brought to the table, tell the individual that it can be discussed offline. Your goal is only to talk about what is on that agenda, so stick with it. Also, keep the discussion going. The objective is to address what is on the outline efficiently, so don’t let any attendees dominate the conversation with other matters.
Have Clear Action Items
Avoid leaving the meeting with ambiguous tasks and goals. Have action items for each individual included in the conversation. Everyone should walk away understanding what they need to do, when they need to have it done, and whom they need to follow-up with to update on their progress. The last thing you want to do is to create another meeting to discuss the previous meeting, so leave the session on a solid note.
Meetings don’t have to be something you and your team dread. They can be productive sessions that allow everyone to understand what the expectations are, as well as ask questions about their role. Use it as a time to meet your goals, and to improve communications. If you follow the tips above, your dealership staff will learn to look at meetings as a tool for collaboration instead of a burden.