For any business looking to improve productivity, one of the top priorities should be devising a strategy to deliver better meetings. Many employees have negative opinions about business meetings, often feeling that they achieve little or just waste time that could have been better spent elsewhere. A great way to improve the perception of meetings is through a better follow-up process.
Keep reading for four tips on improving follow-up after meetings to boost productivity. Or browse through ViewSonic’s range of collaboration tools and software for more effective meetings.
The need to deliver better meetings is of vital importance to any company that is serious about its desire to improve productivity. It is estimated that unproductive meetings could be costing businesses as much as $102 billion every year, and this does not even factor in the costs associated with travel.
One of the very best ways to improve the quality of business meetings – and your employees’ perception of them – is by optimizing your follow-up process. In this article, we provide four useful tips that can assist you with this getting the most out of your meetings and achieving more of your strategic objectives.
Improve Productivity By Creating an Action Plan
The complaint that business meetings are unproductive is an extremely common one. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, this is the view of 71 percent of senior managers, and it should come as little surprise that plenty of their employees agree with this assessment too, finding many meetings to be a waste of their valuable time.
A great way to prevent meetings from becoming a waste of time is by creating an action plan after the meeting. This action plan should then serve as the basis for your various follow-up activities, making clear what was decided in the meeting, what needs to be done, who needs to do it, when it needs to be done, and why.
It is critical that people leave meetings with a sense that something has been decided or achieved and that there is a plan for what comes next. If people are unsure, the action plan can help everybody to focus.
Be Clear on Who is Responsible for the Follow-Up
For your follow-up process to work, you need to be clear about who is responsible for it. In many cases, this will be simple, as the follow up will be the responsibility of the person who organized and called the meeting, but this is not always the case, especially when the follow-up work is going to be extensive.
Think carefully about what needs to be done to follow up with attendees and then allocate specific tasks to people if necessary. Otherwise, if you are taking full responsibility yourself, make sure other key decision-makers know this and understand that they do not need to carry out follow-up activities themselves.
This step may seem obvious, but a surprising number of meetings do not receive the follow-up they deserve because people are unclear about who is meant to be doing the follow-up work.
Carry Out Multiple Different Follow-Up Activities
It is important to understand that following up after a meeting should not consist of a single activity – at least in most cases. The majority of productive and useful meetings will require several different follow-up activities, and while these will depend on the nature of the meeting, they may include the following actions:
- Sending a recap of the meeting, along with any supporting documents, for people to refer to
- Thanking people for their attendance, as well as their contributions to the discussion
- Making suggestions for next steps that individuals can take to help achieve the meeting’s objectives
- Sending proposals to potential clients or customers you have met with
- Requesting status updates or progress reports from key staff members
- Following up in person, with questions, reminders, or casual discussions
Sending a simple meeting recap via email can be a good starting point because it reminds people of what happened, the information that was covered, and the agreed deadlines for any actions. The other forms of follow-up need to be more carefully targeted as not all of these will be relevant for everyone who was in attendance.
Do Not Be Afraid to Follow Up More Than Once
Within sales-based organizations, there is a common statistic, which is that 80 percent of non-routine sales occur only after the business has followed up with a prospect at least five times. The reason this is so widely shared is that studies also indicate that most sales follow-up attempts end after only one or two follow-ups.
This is relevant to businesses following up after a meeting that was intended to generate sales, but the same basic principle applies to other follow-up activities too. Do not be afraid to follow up more than once.
People may not respond to your first follow up attempt for any number of reasons, and even if they see and acknowledge it, they may become distracted by other things going on at work. If you do not get the response you are looking for, consider reaching out again because the key to productive meetings is ensuring they facilitate action.
A focus on better meetings can form a key part of most attempts to improve productivity in the workplace. One of the most effective ways to do this and avoid common complaints about time-wasting is to enhance your follow-up.
It can be useful to create an action plan after your meetings, and to send various follow up content to different people, depending on what is needed of them. Beyond this, you need to be clear on who is responsible for the specific follow-up tasks that are required, and you must be willing to follow-up more than once.
Having clear follow-up plans can definitely lead to a more effective meeting, but you have to also ensure that clearer communication and cultivate productivity-forward practices. Technology can help support these aims by offering seamless collaboration tools and interactive surfaces. You can learn about designing the right meeting space from our guide. Or take a look at ViewSonic’s meeting devices and solutions for your collaboration needs.