PwC Australia’s new boss, Luke Sayers, has banned all internal meetings between 10am and 4pm in a bid to crank up billable hours at the big four bureaucracy.
The initiative coincides with the company taking the axe to 211 staff this week in what the firm describes as a ‘client-centric’ restructure.
In an email to staff Sayers wrote, “My ask of you (is) to reduce non-client demands on each other’s time, with the aim of making the hours of 10am to 4pm client and market time, not internal meeting time,”
“I also ask that all meetings are chaired with purpose and are scheduled to be respectful of the time taken and circumstances of those invited.”
It’s an unusual initiative, but probably a very valid one. Internal meetings make a habit of being slow to get started, dragging on and leaving attendees with only limited take away.
So what meeting tips should we be sending back to Mr Sayers inbox? Here are six of the best we’ve taken the liberty of forwarding him.
1. Make it matter or don’t meet at all
Decide whether a meeting is even needed in the first place and if so only invite the necessary people. If it’s just an update you’re giving don’t waste time gathering the troops, just shoot out an email. If group collaboration and instant feedback is required only then book the meeting room.
2. Define goals and distribute an agenda
The meeting needs clear direction and structure. By writing down specific goals of what you want to achieve and distributing them ahead of time the meeting won’t dawdle and you’ll come out with firm decisions made. An agenda will drive this.
3. Take charge
Take charge to keep discussion on topic and moving along. If a subject is wandering off or hits a roadblock, return to the agenda and move on to the next item.
4. Get input from all
Everyone in the meeting should be there for a reason so make sure you hear from them, even if it means asking their opinion directly. This is not only the purpose of meeting, but also keeps everyone more focussed than if one person is rambling on.
5. Close with an action plan and follow up in five
Wrap up what’s been discussed and reiterate the immediate action to be carried out. Make sure there are deadlines attached. Once the meeting’s finished follow up with a short email covering the key points and outline who’s responsibe for what.
6. Put a cap in place
The general rule is that no meeting should last for more than 30 minutes, but try make it 15. Much longer than that and people’s attention starts to waver.
So there you have it, an easy blueprint for a clear, concise and constructive meeting. But only if you need to have one.