The cost of one single-hour meeting with six managers or professional technical attendees ranges from $600 to $1,500. Add in the cost of facilities, and it is likely to be 25 percent higher. That’s just one hour, one time.

Before Meeting

As time is money, here are best practice suggestions for anyone leading or participating in the meeting. To start:

  • Always publish an agenda prior to each meeting (or ask for an agenda)
  • Collect and publish agenda items and required reading within the calendar appointment item
  • Send out pre-meeting reading requirements one full day in advance (any earlier and it will be lost; any later and it will likely be read during the meeting)
  • Review all the required published details

Pre-meeting Agenda/Beginning Of Meeting

The owner will label agenda items as one of the following:

  • Inform — Inform others, providing facts and decisions made
  • Request for Input — Provide background information (establish focus) so that the leadership team can provide input
  • Request for Decision — Present adequate summary information, and, if necessary, guide the leadership using the full five-step conversation model to reach consensus on a decision (see below)

Discussion is allowed and encouraged to satisfy any information needs.

Meeting Control

Establish meeting focus:

  • As a first item, review the agenda and ask participants to amend as needed. Inform items need to be quick and in summary format. Handle detailed informs with one-page bulleted handouts, or offline via email updates.
  • Consistently apply the “five-step coaching model for managers” to meeting management:
  1. Establish Focus
  2. Discover Possibilities
  3. Plan the Action
  4. Remove Barriers
  5. Recap
  • Keep participants within the flow of the five steps and recognize when a circular flow (step backward) is needed. Be aware of what step you need to be on.
  • Use meeting time for exception-based discussions.
  • Use consensus agenda items to approve or accept recommendations that don’t need discussion.

And good luck with your meeting.

(Note: Carl Nielson is an executive and team performance coach. In addition to one-on-one coaching, Carl delivers in-house development programs for managers, teams and high-potentials. His latest initiatives include Leadership Acceleration Program for High-Potentials; Execution Leadership for NPD and IT Project Managers; and The Coaching Clinic for Managers. Carl also provides highly interactive team workshops, including Communication and Collaboration Skills for Teams using DISC and other assessments.)