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SEM.MINUTES: MAKE MEETINGS PRODUCTIVE

by Sofia Anderson | Feb 16, 2016


Most meetings are unproductive and unnecessary. David Grady and Jason Fried stated, in their TED Talk session, that there are more than 3 billion meeting every year and more than $37 Billion is wasted every year in meetings with key personnel spending 40 to 50 percent of their total working hours away from their core function .
Big companies like Google and Apple have proven that to be true. To avoid the waste, they institutionalized rules for meetings. Google’s Larry Page makes it a point to do have 10 people or less in every meeting. Amazon’s Jeff Bezo avoids serving food in a meeting .  LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner avoids presentation and small talks.
Notice, though, that none of these companies are completely eliminating meetings. All they are doing is streamline the process in order to get what they need to get out of meetings.

sem.MINUTES serves that very purpose for companies. It is a tool that eliminates everything that makes meetings unproductive.

Kills Status Updates

Back when Page, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg weren’t born yet, managers were asked to provide status of their department or projects. This is to assure everyone that everyone is doing their job. They are company’s ultimate assurance that their money does not go to waste. This is also the most useless part of the meeting and sem.MINUTES solves this problem. 

Status updates may already be posted in sem.MINUTES for everyone to check, if they need or care to, before the meeting. Whoever is calling the meeting may require everyone to post status updates on sem.MINUTES or other files that need to be distributed. That will save you all the minutes devoted to status updates that may not be of interest to everyone.

Direct to the One Concerned

Not everything has to be dealt with in a group level. Most of the time, issues, problems or projects concern only a certain number of people. sem.MINUTES allows you to create tasks, include detailed description, attach files and make it available only to those that are directly involved with it. There is no need to share the task to the IT department if the problem is about employee benefits, right?



Clear Agenda
The most common mistakes managers make in a meeting is not having a set and clear agenda. Most of the time, there is an outline of topics but there are no details per topic. This leads for people to spend too much time on a certain topic or get lost as to what action needs to be taken.

With sem.MINUTES, you may set a clear agenda before a meeting starts. You can list the major topics, list the issues or facts that everyone must know and what actions need to be taken. You can also set a time allotment per topic. This will motivate people to do certain things:
-    Come to the meeting already aware of the facts they need to know
-    Prepare for proposed solution before they come to the meeting
-    Be forced to reach a resolution within the time allotted

Once the clear agenda is set, you will also have a clear idea on who should be invited to the meeting. Those that aren’t necessary, leave them out and let them do their job. You can send out the agenda only to the people that need to be there.
Eliminates Presentations

Weiner observed most employees do other tasks during a meeting. He suspects (and was later proven to be right) that even more employees aren’t paying attention during meetings, specifically during presentations.

sem.MINUTES eliminates the need for presentation. You can attach documents with the invitation or agenda and send it out to everyone. Everyone attending should go through the presentation before the meetings. Several things may be accomplished with this:
-    People will have the time to process and think about the actionable points so that when they come to the meeting, they are prepared with suggestions
-    Eliminates the minutes allotted to the presentation
-    Allows those participating in the meeting to check the content of the presentation in their most convenient time and prepare whatever they need to prepare
-    Send out questions or clarifications or questions in advance

VIPs Only

Research proved that when there are more than seven people in a meeting, productivity drops down . sem.MINUTES allow for a detailed agenda to be sent. You can attach any document or files that are needed in the meeting. You can send it out to everyone who is invited to the meeting. The biggest advantage is that people that are being invited may review the agenda and documents in advance. Based on the details, they can personally determine whether or not they are needed in the meeting.
If they are not, they can decline and use their time to more productive things like actually doing their job.

It will also allow everyone to determine whether the agenda is urgent or if there are other things that must be prioritized or other matters that must be resolved as a pre-requisite for this meeting. Jobs was known to conduct meeting with five people or less, keeping only the decision makers . Page implemented the same rule when he took over as CEO of the company.



How Much Does Your Meeting Cost?
sem.MINUTES allows you to see all the details of the meeting in one sheet. You can do the one thing that many companies miss on doing, calculate the cost of the meeting . What should be considered, however, is that employees are hired to perform specific tasks such programming, research, answer phone calls and others. Attending meetings is a distraction from their main task.

In order to calculate the cost, calculate the per hour cost of an employee. Add the per hour cost of all these employees and multiply that to the number of hours of the meeting. Having 10 people in the meeting that is getting paid $20 per hour attend a 2-hour meeting costs the company $400 in direct cost. You also need to consider the jobs that are going to be left pending because of the meeting.
This will train everyone to keep meeting short and productive.

Time Your Agenda
One way to cut the cost of the meeting is to time the agenda. sem.MINUTES allows you to list the details of the agenda including the allotted time per topic. This will keep everything and everyone aligned. If people have something to say, it must be said within the minutes allotted to the topic.

Post Meeting Action
Whatever is uploaded in sem.MINUTES becomes visible to everyone included in the list. sem.MINUTES makes post-meeting actions easy. Minutes of the meeting may be written while the meeting is being conducted and sent out immediately. The people concerned will immediately know the actions needed from them.
Sem.MINUTES shares all relevant data to all relevant people. It makes all actions points visible and clear. More importantly, the system does all these without taking up too much of your time. Reviews may be done immediately and sharing is real-time.