The CPA Journal (a publication of the New York Society of CPA’s)
By Gregory F. Pashke, CPA
Are your organizational meetings efficient and effective or are they usually characterized as boring, time-wasting, ill-structured gatherings which generate marginal results?
Review of the following considerations might provoke some insights on how you might alter current meeting procedures so as to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. These considerations would apply to client meetings as well as your own firm meetings
Cost of Meetings
Remember the significant internal hourly cost of meetings in terms of personnel time availability. This factor alone, when appropriately perceived, can provide the incentive to reassess the types, frequency, content, attendance and necessity of existing organizational meetings.
The majority of meetings generally warrant the development and circulation of a carefully thought-out agenda that sufficiently enumerates the topics for discussion and the pre-meeting preparation expected of the meeting participants (stress clarity and avoid vagueness). Remember the agenda can act as a control mechanism both prior to and during the meeting.
Topical Time Allotment
Allot each topical agenda item the time it merits given its relative importance to the organization and the time constraints of the meeting.
Be careful, however, not to give inadequate attention to topics merely because of an overly ambitious agenda (topics of lesser importance can often be deferred to a subsequent meeting without dire circumstances). Similarly, do not allow a meeting to drag on if the agenda items have been sufficiently treated (do not beat a dead horse).
Periodic Meeting Evaluation
Occasional appraisals of the timing, frequency, participation, efficiency, effectiveness and necessity of various organizational meetings should be made. Avoid the pitfall of an organizational climate that proliferates and perpetuates meetings.
Timing of Meetings
Do not underestimate the effects that the timing (day of week, time of day, etc.) of meeting can have on its impact. For example, a high-powered and motivating practice development meeting held late Friday afternoon could hardly expect to have significant carry forward effects on the following Monday.
Utilize Various Methods of Presentation
Encourage the use of visual aids (slides, charts, movies, exhibits, etc.) surveys, quotes and other evidential and presentation methods. It is no accident that such meetings are often characterized by enthusiastic, creative and motivated participants.
Get Things Resolved
Nothing does more to undermine the level of effectiveness of meetings and demoralize their participants than meetings at which nothing gets settled. After all the presenting, arguing, discussing, and recommending have subsided, it is essential that the topic be resolved to a specific course of action (implement a procedure, gather additional information, etc.) and someone assigned responsibility for doing it.
Role of Meeting Chair
About the author:
Greg Pashke, CMA, CFM, CMC, CPA/ABV, CBA, CVA, CPCM, MBA is the President of Pashke Consulting, an organizational, managerial, and financial consulting firm. Greg assists organizations strategize, keep score, evaluate results, and monitor their game plans.He can be reached by email at GPashke@PashkeConsulting.com, or by telephone at 772-528-3871 and his web site is: www.pashkeconsulting.com.
Copyright © 2005 Pashke Consulting, all rights reserved.
December 7, 2008
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