We spend a lot of our time in meetings. Various sources estimate that this is how we spend between 35% and 50% of our time at work. They are an essential tool for communication of developments, project updates or sharing of ideas, but at the same time they are not easy to get right: ensuring that everyone is prepared before the meeting, focussed during it and stays on top of agreed tasks afterwards is a challenge. Consequently, it is not uncommon that meetings end up being a lot less productive than they can be. In fact, a recent study of UK businesses estimated that over a third of all meetings are unproductive, costing each business an average of £1,400 per employee every year.
At Wellmeadow Consulting, we chair a lot of meetings for our clients, the majority of which are SME’s across a wide variety of sectors. Over the years, we have run over 2,000 board meetings, as well as numerous others (such as senior management meetings, accounts reviews and appraisals). During this time, we have developed a process which helps make meetings more productive and helps turn them into an effective way to run a business. Over the past 12 months we have been working towards building this process into a piece of software specifically aimed at SME organisations. There is software available which is predominantly aimed at larger organisations that help them organise meetings, distribute board packs and follow up on actions. However, there is not a product out there designed specifically with SMEs in mind, which is why we’ve created Magic Minutes™.
In order to get the most out of a meeting, we have found that it is crucial to get things right before, during and after the get-together.
Magic Minutes™ helps ensure that the agenda is agreed upon before the meeting and that any pre-meeting documents and reports are distributed and read before the event. This helps all attendees prepare adequately and facilitate a more informed, productive discussion.
The actual process of minute taking itself is made easier by the use of Minute Helpers – pre-set texts or entire report sections that can be added to the minutes with minimal effort, which enable the minutes to almost write themselves. In addition, assigning tasks at meetings is as simple as writing the person’s name next to the task that they need to complete. All of this allows the minute taker to focus on the important thing – the meeting itself – rather than spending an unnecessary amount of time recording the events.
After the meeting, Magic Minutes™ sends out task reminders to relevant attendees, as well as instantly providing everyone with a copy of the minutes for their records. Assigned tasks are recorded by Magic Minutes™ as well so that they can be reviewed at the next meeting. This ensures that those responsible for the completion of tasks are not only held accountable, but also find it easier to get things done by having all of their tasks in one place. In addition, task progress can be recorded in Magic Minutes™ as well, which not only helps the doers with organisation, but also can be used as a communication tool to keep colleagues updated between meetings.
Magic Minutes™ is designed to help everyone be better prepared for their meetings, run them effectively and ultimately ensure that they deliver results.
Although Magic Minutes™ is still in its development stages, it’s already increasing productivity and reducing meeting management overheads. Adam Beardmore of Birmingham-based workspace solutions provider Top-Tec stated that:
‘Since we started using Magic Minutes, we have seen our various meetings, from board to departmental level, become more productive, engaging and focussed. This product is really helping us get more things done.’
To find out more about Magic Minutes™, or to sign up for a free trial head to our website: www.magicminutes.co.uk