Meetings aren’t bad, you just have bad meetings

Jay Hokke, Senior Director of Results Management Office
Pax8 Results Management Office Blog

In the modern workplace, meetings play a crucial role in fostering collaboration, making decisions, and driving progress. However, we’ve all experienced those dreaded, unproductive meetings that seem to go nowhere and waste valuable time. That’s especially true in the managed service provider (MSP) business, where poor meeting efficiency can lead to wasted revenue because they cost you billable hours.

The truth is, meetings themselves are not inherently bad; rather, it’s the way they are conducted that can lead to their inefficacy. As a business coach who has witnessed numerous executive-level meetings, I’ve realized that the key to successful meetings lies in adopting best practices and being intentional about how they are conducted. Read on to learn some of those best practices for MSP meetings.

Common meeting mistakes

In recent years, many organizations have shifted toward a hybrid approach to workforce management, embracing a mix of remote and in-office work. With this transition, it has become even more critical to create intentional spaces for alignment, collaboration, and productivity in meetings.

To address the issue of unproductive meetings, our coaching partners and internal teams have adopted a proven framework that ensures focus, alignment, accountability, and results. Let’s delve into some of the common mistakes people make when running meetings and the strategies to overcome them.

  1. Lack of clear purpose and agenda: A meeting without a clear purpose is destined to be unproductive. Before scheduling a meeting, take some time to identify the objectives you want to achieve and create a clear and simple agenda. This not only keeps the discussion on track but also helps evaluate the meeting’s success at the end. Research has shown that setting clear goals and objectives improves team performance and satisfaction during meetings.
  2. Inviting too many people: Not everyone needs to be present at every meeting. Invite only the essential stakeholders whose participation is crucial for the discussions. Including the right people ensures relevant insights and perspectives are considered, leading to better decision-making. An excellent way to identify critical participants is by analyzing their roles in relation to the meeting’s objectives.
  3. Not starting and ending on time: Respect everyone’s time by adhering to the meeting’s scheduled start and end times. Consistency in this regard is essential as it demonstrates professionalism and helps participants plan their day efficiently. Punctuality is a leadership trait that sets a positive example for the team, encouraging them to be punctual in their endeavors as well.
  4. Lack of participation: Every team member has something valuable to contribute, which means their engagement and presence are crucial for successful meetings. Encourage active participation by fostering an open and inclusive environment. Ask open-ended questions, address attendees by their names, and give everyone a chance to express their ideas. This not only boosts creativity and innovation but also fosters a culture of trust and inclusivity.
  5. Lack of follow-up and accountability: After the meeting concludes, follow up on decisions made and assign tasks with clear deadlines. Tracking and measuring progress increase accountability and ensures that actions are taken promptly. Being intentional about the follow-up process reinforces a sense of responsibility and empowers team members to take ownership of their commitments.

By avoiding these common mistakes, your meetings will become more focused, productive, and enjoyable.

Tips to have better meetings

In addition to avoiding common meetings mistakes, here are a few additional tips to further enhance the effectiveness of your meetings:

  1. Keep the meeting focused: Designate someone to take notes and ensure discussions stay on track. Clearly state the meeting’s objectives at the beginning, setting a reference point for everyone to stay focused on the desired outcomes.
  2. Encourage participation: Avoid letting a few individuals dominate the conversation. Foster an inclusive environment by involving everyone through open-ended questions and direct engagement.
  3. Create a positive environment: Set a positive tone by greeting participants warmly and ensuring a comfortable meeting space. Psychological safety is essential for encouraging open dialogue and idea sharing.
  4. End on a positive note: Summarize the key points discussed during the meeting and express gratitude to all participants for their contributions. Ending on a positive note leaves attendees with a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

By adopting these best practices, you can transform meetings from time-wasting sessions into valuable and productive interactions that drive success for your MSP business. Remember, meetings are a powerful tool for collaboration and progress, but only when conducted thoughtfully and intentionally.

If you’d like even more insight on how to run more effective meetings, enroll in our Pax8 Academy On-Demand course that unlocks the full potential of the team by creating a culture of productivity, morale-boosting, and collaboration.

Enroll now

Jay Hokke currently leads the Results Management Office within the Global Operations team at Pax8. Prior to this role, he spent nine years as an IT business coach after nearly two decades of working within MSPs, executive leadership, and operations.