December 5, 2022

Small Business Advice

Meetings so Important

Jerry Osteryoung | 10/22/2007

I hate being placed on committees. They are always having meetings at which half are absent and the rest late.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Meetings are part and parcel of every business. Not having meetings really causes a significant decline in morale. After all, all staff want to be informed as to both what has happened in the past (both successes and challenges) and what is going to happen in the future.

So many times I have heard managers say, “We really do not get anything out of meetings!” While all meetings are not productive, meetings should be a vital information vehicle for businesses. If a meeting is not successful, then it just has not been planned right.

I probably have done over 500 strategy planning workshops and, always, the number one weakness of these businesses is lack of communications. While there are many forms of communications, meetings on a regular basis give each an employee a chance to interact with others. Too often employees so isolated in their business as they just to not feel part of the team.

Having meetings are important, but the timing of meetings can have a big part in the success or failure of the meetings. Some people just do not do well with breakfast meetings. These are the late night group whose brain only gets engaged after about 10 AM. Others, like me, start to slow down after about 3PM. This just means that different people have different time preferences. One firm that we work with only has meetings between 10 and 3 to make sure that it is the most productive time for all at a meeting.

One of the greatest failures of a meeting is not to have an agenda. Agenda forces the participants to stick to topic and forces the meetings to progress along in a timely fashion. One of the best ways to deal with the agenda is to have this done in detail with the amount of time to be spent on each topic listed out. The larger the number of people attending a meeting the more the time elements must be mapped out. You must, additionally, start on time and end on time.

There must be a purpose for each meeting. It is better not to have a meeting than to have one just because you normally meet every two weeks.

Now go out and examine your meetings for their effectiveness. Additionally, ask yourself if meetings can add to your communications that you are currently not having.

You can do this!

Jerry Osteryoung is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State University. He is also the Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at FSU and Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute of Global Entrepreneurship. He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 850-644-3372.

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