Ways to keep internal meetings on track
October 27, 2015

Internal meetings tend to stray from their purpose and suck up too much of the workday. The last thing busy accountants working on cash flow management or client acquisition want to do is sit through a long meeting with their bosses and colleagues. While holding meetings internally is important because it puts everyone on the same page, it's important to remember that no new funds will stream in as a direct result of the meeting, and it is essentially keeping you from completing the accounting tasks and projects you need to finish. For this reason, it's important to minimize any wasted time or effort during internal meetings. Here are someways to make your internal conferences more efficient:

Set a time limit and stick to it
One of the best ways to improve internal meetings is to speed them up. In many cases, this means setting a time limit and making people fit all they have to say into that timeframe. Too often, meetings drag on, and not much really gets done. Setting a time limit eliminates the possibility of a meeting taking up too much of the day.

Time limits only work if you stick to them. If you say the meeting will be a half hour and you let it go for an hour then you're defeating the purpose of setting a cut-off in the first place. Stick to the amount of time you originally planned for unless you have a good reason for extending it.

Try to keep meetings small
Ever been in a meeting with twenty people and only four people talk? Chances are, most of the twenty people didn't need to be there. While not everyone has to contribute to every meeting they're in, there should be a distinct reason for each person to be there. For example, if a meeting occurs pertaining to the HR department's software upgrades, there is generally no reason accountants need to be a part of that meeting. The opposite goes for meetings about accounting software - HR personnel don't need to be there.

Have an agenda and don't deviate
Before holding the meeting, create a list of everything that needs to be covered and how long each subject will be discussed. The more detailed the agenda, the better the chances there will be no tangents that distract from the main purpose of the meeting. According to The Harvard Business Review, tangents can cause a meeting to degenerate. When this occurs, meeting leaders have to waste time getting everyone back on track.

Start with the meeting objective
When the meeting begins, it's a good idea to state the objectives. According to CBS News, keeping the objectives and agenda simple will help ensure productivity. Stating the point of the meeting up front will remind everyone why they're there and what will be discussed.

Keep a record of the meeting
Although you don't have to keep detailed minutes of the meeting, have a person write down or type up the results. This not only ensures that everything is tracked, but it is also a useful tool for covering everything on the agenda. If something was missed, it can be identified and discussed as needed.

Nexus: G-WEBCD1