Demand efficient meetings

Several Danish surveys suggest that about 20 % of all meeting time is considered a waste of time. Think about it: How many hours and Euro go down the drain when 1/5 of the time does not create any value?

A meeting is a process, a particular work form, and therefore an expert in work process rationalisation and processes be the right person to ask how you can optimise the comprehensive meeting entries. In the book ”Den effektive leder – succes med en 40 timers arbejdsuge” (The efficient leader – success with a 40 hour workweek), I ask Senior Director Jens Røhme from Maersk Line what it takes to streamline meetings:

Agenda and purpose must be known

”At meetings, the same principles as for matching expectations apply. As well as you need to know the others’ expectations with regards to how a given task is solved, you need to match expectations as to what a meeting should include. All our projects, tasks and meetings are planned based on a very simply match of expectations: ”Which outcome do we need?”

When I arrive at a meeting, people know there has to be an agenda and an expected outcome. If not available, I leave. I’ve done it several times, and it’s not particular popular, especially not if 20 people are sitting there. But it only happens once, and the next time we meet, agenda and meeting purpose are available.”

Meetings without a clear purpose are inefficient

You need both courage and a backbone to leave a full meeting room, and I must confess that I am a little impressed. One thing is to leave a room with employees and even colleagues, but what about superiors? ”I’ve done it once, where I told my boss that he wasted my time. He laughed a little, because he hasn’t thought about it before I pointed it out to him, although he already knew. So I sat down and we figured it out. But most people do see how inefficient it is to meet without a clear purpose, they just don’t think about it when they call the meeting”, he says.

Consider the following:

  • How efficient are the meetings you take part in? Is there room for improvement?
  • Are purpose and target always clear on the meetings you hold or take part in?
  • Is an agenda always in place?
  • Are the meeting’s conclusions clear once the meeting is over?
  • How long are the different meetings?
  • Could you shorten some of them?
  • How can YOU contribute to an efficient meeting culture?
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Trine Kolding
Expert in planning and time coach,

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