In a recent survey of project managers 80% reported that their organizations did not provide formalized training for planning and running effective meetings. This statistic probably doesn’t come as a surprise as most of us have probably not had meeting training during our careers. The skills required to plan, execute and follow through on meetings are something that most people just learn on the job or not at all. There is nothing wrong with on the job (OTJ) training. Many important skills can be learned through OTJ training and it is how many organizations develop younger employees and equip them with the skills that they need to be successful. However, when it comes to learning the skills to plan, execute and follow through on meetings effectively, OTJ training might not be the best approach. If younger employees are to learn effective meeting skills on the job then the employees mentoring and passing along the skills must actually possess the skills. If they themselves never learned the skills or worse if they learned ineffective skills and bad habits from other people along the way then those bad habits and poor skills are passed along instead of effective meeting skills.
Meetings are such a critical part of how business gets done. In an earlier blog entitled Business Meetings – Quantifying the Massive Investment, we explored the investment that is made annually in meetings. For a typical 1,000 person company this worked out to approximately 21.6 Million dollars annually that is invested in meetings. This is a very conservative estimate using an average hourly employee compensation of $30. Scale the number to match the average cost of employees in your organization and the size of your organization. The bottom line is that we are investing a tremendous amount of resources into meetings, we are not providing employees with the training they need to be successful and we are getting the subpar results that we deserve. In today’s economic climate where organizations are looking to gain efficiencies wherever they can find them let us suggest that you take a hard look at meetings.
So what can you do to target improvements in your meetings?
Organizations need to implement training programs to equip employees with the skills required to plan, execute and follow through on meetings in an effective manner. We don’t have numbers on the return on investment that companies would obtain from implementing a meeting training program but I can assure you that the ROI would be measured in single digit days. The training program does not have to be complex but it must address the following areas.
- Meeting Investment Awareness
- Meeting Ambiguity
- Meeting Stakeholder Accountability
- Meeting Manager Responsibilities
- Meeting Planning
- Meeting Execution
- Meeting Results and Follow Through
In future blog posts we will dive into each of these topics to flush out the details that are important. For now the call to action is to talk to your HR department about implementing a meeting training program. If you need help please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org