Inside: Meetings don’t have to be a waste of time. Make your pharmacy meetings more efficient and effective with these simple strategies.
You’ve been there before.
Five minutes to break the ice. Five more waiting for an employee to show up. Ten for introductory and housekeeping points. Another ten to fix whatever technology has failed this time.
Now you’ve lost 30 minutes of your meeting and gained nothing.
Sound like any of your pharmacy meetings?
You’re not alone. One study showed that more than 31 hours every month get wasted in meetings.
Every minute spent in the meeting room is an opportunity cost. It’s time that employees could spend on revenue-generating activities.
Although meetings are necessary, don’t let them drain productivity from your business. Use these nine strategies to wrap up your pharmacy meetings in half the time—and get twice the results.
1. Set a clear goal for the meeting
This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s first strategy that made meetings at the multi-billion-dollar company more efficient.
Asides, anecdotes, and diversions plague even the most well-intentioned meetings. Sometimes the biggest culprit is discussing an important topic that’s not relevant to the current meeting. If you’re not there to solve every problem, then stick to the problem at hand.
Setting a clear goal for the meeting will enable you to identify superfluous discussion and filter it out. During the meetings, continually ask, “Is this going to help us reach a decision about [meeting goal]?”
If not, this meeting isn’t the place for the discussion.
2. Look through meeting materials in advance
At the beginning of typical pharmacy meetings, the team leader runs through the agenda. After that comes the introduction and explanation of the topics that you’ll discuss. Then, finally, you begin the discussion.
Did you yawn reading through that? So did everyone in the meeting. Maybe that’s why 90 percent of people say they daydream through meetings.
Cut out the previews. Require every attendee to look over the agenda and meeting materials before the meeting. When the meeting starts, you can skip the appetizers and dive straight into the meat.
3. Set fewer meetings
How many meetings have you left wondering why you met at all?
When an email or a quick chat would suffice, misguided managers arrange a full-team meeting that’s finished in minutes.
By the time it’s over, you’ve spent as much time walking to and from the meeting as you spent in the meeting. And small talk has taken up as much time as business talk.
Or worse, the meeting lasted an hour and you left with exactly what you came with: nothing.
Make having meetings a last resort. Solve as much as you can over email or in-person with individuals before you set a meeting.
4. Start on time
This strategy seems like a no-brainer. But from personal conversations to late employees, something always causes a delay.
One reason for this is a lack of enforcement. When employees know that showing up five to ten minutes late doesn’t come with consequences, they act accordingly.
Or, managers sometimes show up late because they’re caught up doing important work. But remember that meetings don’t just take up your time. They take up everyone’s time.
If you set a meeting, prioritize it. Don’t make people wait for you and don’t wait for anyone else.
5. Schedule your meetings for half the time
The time limit of your meeting often determines how you use time in your meeting.
If everyone can accomplish your meeting’s goal in thirty minutes but you set your meeting for an hour, you’ll spend a half-hour on non-essential fillers.
Studies show that time constraints make you more focused, improve communication, and improve groupthink. Time constraints force you to stay on topic and to make only necessary contributions.
Pare down the time to pare down the fat.
6. End the meeting with an action plan
Here’s another pharmacy meeting mess-up: You have a great discussion, and everyone leaves hyped and hopeful but no one knows what they’re supposed to do.
Unless employees leave with a practical action plan, the meeting didn’t succeed.
Before you adjourn your pharmacy meetings, make sure everyone knows their assignment and deadlines.
If that’s too much to accomplish in the meeting, make sure supervisors know what tasks to divvy up to their reports.
7. Only invite essential people
Meetings aren’t a social hour. When too many people sit around the table, less will get accomplished, according to the Harvard Business Review.
One research study concluded that no meeting should have more than eight people.
And, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will only convene meetings when two pizzas can feed all the attendees.
After you set the goal of your meeting, decide which decision-makers and contributors need to attend.
8. Ban devices
Don’t allow anyone, including yourself, to bring devices into a meeting. Company leaders are the most common culprits of this meeting faux pas.
Constantly bombarded with important emails, managers too often try to multitask during meetings. (Oftentimes, that’s because they know how much of the discussion is wasteful…)
Studies overwhelming show that we can’t actually multitask. And even if you think you can, your device will still distract other people and encourage them to get on their devices as well.
If you set your agenda, invite only essential people, and set a short time limit, you won’t have any downtime during a meeting to check your phone. So, there’s no reason to bring it along.
9. Practice better communication
If people don’t listen well when others talk, your pharmacy meetings will go nowhere.
Lack of good listening leads to repetition. One person talks, another person says the same thing while everyone else rolls their eyes.
Worse, not listening leads to longer arguments. You spend valuable time arguing with something no one ever said, which gets you nowhere.
Prevent these problems with one simple fix.
When someone responds to another person, make them repeat what they just heard. That ensures that people are on the same page when they talk. Although that sounds like more work (and more time), it’ll save you far more time in the long run.
Meetings don’t have to be unproductive. Make the most of your pharmacy meetings with these simple strategies.
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