Do Your Meetings Measure Up to Your CEO's Expectations?

If the CEO of your company decided to sit in on a few of your meetings, would she be impressed or distressed?

We asked Nancy Knowlton, Co-CEO of SMART Technologies Inc. and Bob Hagerty, CEO of Polycom Inc., what they expect from meetings and how important effective meetings are to the success of their companies. Find out if your meetings are effective enough to measure up to the expectations of these CEO’s.

What Your Meeting Means to the CEO
Both Knowlton and Hagerty feel strongly that the effectiveness of a company’s meetings has an impact on the organization’s bottom line.

“Meetings are a huge investment of time, and the number-one expense that most companies have is their people,” explains Knowlton. “When people make good use of their time there’s a terrific return on investment. But when people don’t make good use of their time in meetings – they don’t achieve their objectives, there’s useless chatter or they’re cycling around on the same topic – that’s a prescription for no return on an investment.”

Hagerty agrees, “I think unsuccessful meetings can be a disaster – they’re unpleasant to be in, they’re ineffective, they’re a waste of time, and they create a huge productivity hole. If you look around the room in most corporate meetings, there’s a lot of money being burned by the minute.”

What Would Your CEO Change About Today’s Meetings?
“I think people are generally well prepared for most of the meetings I attend,” says Knowlton. “They’ve all read background material and prepared their own materials. But I find it frustrating when I’m not told what the objective of the meeting is and when I don’t see a clearly laid out agenda that’s going to accomplish that objective.”

Hagerty’s first pet peeve about meetings is lateness: “Don’t come in late. It’s disruptive and it’s too expensive. People should be on time, be prepared and be ready to roll.” But what he thinks would make the biggest improvement in meetings is for people in geographically dispersed companies to have more access to technology. “I just don’t think a phone connection is quite adequate anymore. Meeting attendees need to be able to see the information and the people – especially if they are remote,” explains Hagerty.

He feels that in order for people to buy in to the focus of a meeting, they need to be fully engaged in the discussions that happen in these meetings. “When people are engaged, they feel better because they know what’s going on, and they can take better and faster action because it’s direct information they are getting, not second- or third-hand through some memo that came in the mail or through e-mail.”

How to Reach Your CEO’s Meeting Expectations
So what can you do to make sure you’re measuring up to your CEO’s meeting expectations? Follow their meeting advice.

“The basics of holding a good meeting actually haven’t changed over the years,” says Knowlton. “It all starts with whether or not there’s a clearly stated objective for the meeting in the agenda – a meeting without an agenda is a recipe for a waste of time.”

Knowlton explains that she expects the meeting organizer to inform people in advance of the meeting objective and agenda, stay on track in the meeting, cover off the action items and clearly state what the outcome of the meeting is.

Hagerty says there are seven main steps to follow if meeting organizers and attendees want to hold a successful meeting: stay focused on the main point; stay in control of the meeting; have an agenda; discuss the important issues; make sure everyone is fully engaged; get a decision; get out. “Because action happens outside the meetings.”


CEO Pet Peeves

“Don’t come in late. It’s disruptive and it’s too expensive. People should be on time, be prepared and be ready to roll.”
Bob Hagerty
CEO, Polycom Inc.

“I find it frustrating when I’m not told what the objective of the meeting is and when I don’t see a clearly laid out agenda that’s going to accomplish that objective.”
Nancy Knowlton
Co-CEO, SMART Technologies Inc.

 

 


Read meeting dilemmas solved by the Meeting Guru.

 

 

 

 


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