Best Practice: Finally Meetings that Move Your Company Forward

The success of any B2B company is based on regular exchange and goal-oriented communication. Only in this way can necessary adjustments be made promptly and successes assessed. In order to make meetings more efficient, you need a defined meeting structure.

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Everyone knows them, the meetings in which a lot is said, but in the end no one is smarter than before. Not to mention concrete implementation measures. This is annoying for everyone involved, because no one has time to waste. If the topics go round in circles without reaching a result, this is usually due to a non-existent meeting structure. In the following, we would like to show you how an ideal B2B meeting should be structured

A successful meeting needs a rhythm, a driving engine and process discipline

Why Are We Dealing with This Topic?

Meetings can be an efficient instrument for increasing the success of a company. Unfortunately, it can be observed time and again that meetings are held too often, not at all, half-heartedly or without structure

Let's use an example from B2B practice: You are an executive at an automotive supplier and want to develop a new marketing operations strategy. You spontaneously call a meeting to discuss the necessary adjustments internally. Unfortunately, the meeting does not go at all as you had imagined. Everyone is talking at cross-purposes and new topics keep coming up during the conversation. In addition, there are people present who can't contribute anything to the topic and are already starting to yawn. After two hours of unproductive discussion, not a single useful suggestion has been made. All participants leave the meeting frustrated

But it doesn't have to be like that! Below you will learn how it works better.

What Types of Meetings Should you Hold?

There are different types of meetings, each serving different purposes:

  • Daily Stand Up

  • Weekly Team

  • Mid-Weekly Single

  • 2 Weekly Meeting

You don't necessarily have to have all of the above meetings in your company.

The principle applies: as few meetings as possible, as many as necessary

Always think about how you can bundle topics. In addition, meetings do not (or no longer) necessarily have to take place in person. Online meetings are now firmly established in everyday B2B life, e.g. via Zoom. In addition to the local flexibility of the participants, online meetings have another advantage: the risk of distraction (e.g. through private conversations) is minimized.

Let's Now Look at the Different Types of Meetings in Detail:

A Daily Stand Up Meeting is a short meeting in a standing position. Within a few minutes the most important topics of the day are discussed. Since standing is much less comfortable than sitting, the meeting is not unnecessarily prolonged

The "Level 10" concept could serve as a template for a Weekly Team Meeting, which we will discuss in more detail below. If the internal workflow does not allow for 90-minute meetings, the concept can alternatively be compressed to 45 minutes

In some companies, a two-week meeting is also sufficient (2 Weekly Meetings). Company meetings are often held every two weeks. Here, all departments come together and bring each other up to date. In this way, everyone finds out what tasks are due in the various departments in the next 14 days. It is discussed how the departments can optimally support and complement each other. The interdepartmental cooperation strengthens the "we-feeling".

Finally, we will talk about the Mid Weekly Single Meeting. This is a short "four-eyes" meeting that is used for updates and feedback. Among other things, we discuss whether we are (still) on the right course. If necessary, the focus needs to be adjusted or sharpened

Different Meetings, Similar Structures

Whether it's a large team meeting or a short stand up meeting: Nothing works without a meeting structure. In order to clearly classify the main topics, the so-called IED principle is recommended

I = Information

E = Decision

D = Debate

With the help of this principle, it is clearly defined which topics are to be dealt with and to what extent. The objectives should also be clearly formulated.

How Is the Ideal Meeting Structured?

Now let's look at the ideal meeting structure. In B2B, the Level 10 meeting agenda has proven to be effective. An EOS survey found that a majority of executives surveyed rated the effectiveness of their meetings as a mere 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. The "Level 10" concept is designed to increase satisfaction to 10. It was tailored specifically for executives in B2B companies.

Level 10 is a weekly meeting (Weekly Team) that lasts 90 minutes. The main part of the meeting focuses on the three most important current problems and issues of the company. This avoids getting bogged down in side discussions. However, the 90 minutes scheduled are not realistic and meaningful for every company.

To make meetings more efficient, the following basic rules are also important

  • Make sure you start on time. All participants should be in the meeting room 5 minutes before the meeting starts

  • Do not overrun the meeting. End after 90 minutes at the latest

  • The meeting should take place on the same day of the week and at the same time every week.

The Meeting Structure in Detail: Meeting Schedule

In the following, we would like to present you with a sample schedule for an approx. 45-minute meeting based on the Level 10 model

Half an hour before the meeting: Technical check (microphones, PowerPoint etc.)

  1. Short check-in (max. 1 - 2 minutes): Start the meeting with a positive introduction. What went particularly well last week?

  2. Rock review (5 minutes): briefly discuss updates within departments

  3. Customer/employee headlines (5 minutes): one-sentence summary of key events

  4. To do list (5 minutes): what tasks have been completed? What will we work on next week?

  5. Problem list (20 minutes): discussion of top 3 concerns with focus on problem solving.

Important: Each participant should speak on each point. In order not to exceed the time frame and to ensure maximum effectiveness, it is therefore important that only relevant people participate in the meeting.

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What Are the Mistakes to Avoid?

The biggest mistake is not holding meetings at all.

Without regular consultations, both internally and with business customers, the desired business success is almost impossible

Nor is it enough to hold meetings only as needed

"We discussed everything last week, didn't we, and there's nothing left to discuss now?"

Maybe you know this train of thought from your everyday business life. However, you should not let yourself be guided by this. In order to make meetings more efficient, regularity is of elementary importance. You will quickly find that there are always smaller or larger agenda items to discuss. Waiting until there is a great need for clarification is counterproductive. Furthermore, it is important to prioritize the issues to be discussed

From a business perspective, it makes no sense to waste the meeting discussing the new type of coffee beans or changing the empty toilet paper roll

Also, don't make the mistake of trying to discuss everything at once. Define the purpose of the meeting (e.g. to form an opinion or to make a decision) and stick strictly to the agenda. The agenda should be set before the meeting and sent out with the invitation to the meeting.

In addition, it is advisable to establish meeting rules that apply to all participants as a matter of course:

  • Punctuality

  • Invite only relevant participants.

  • Mobile phones remain switched off

  • Everyone is allowed to speak

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth

Surely you know this well-known proverb. It also applies to running successful meetings. Make sure that not too many people participate in the meeting. In a smaller group, each participant gets the opportunity to express themselves. This immediately makes the meeting more efficient. However, you also need to give your employees the opportunity to contribute. Don't take over the entire moderation.

Conclusion: Making Meetings More Efficient Is not Difficult

As you can see, if you follow a few basic rules, you can finally establish a meeting culture that really moves a company forward

To make a meeting more efficient, you need a rhythm, a driving force, and process discipline

This metaphor can be applied to practice as follows: The rhythm refers to the regularity in which a meeting should take place. You can think of it as a heartbeat. The driving engine refers to the commitment of the participants. This includes you as the facilitator. Process discipline exhorts you to stick to the agenda and always focus on the goals of the meeting. If you follow these tips, inefficient, time-consuming meetings will be a thing of the past