Meeting Overload Syndrome

stethoscope on paper represent meeting overload syndrome
While the insurance industry has much to be thankful for, challenges still exist for many firms in insurance. Again and again, NEOS encounters managers at insurance firms suffering from Meeting Overload. Instead of spending their valuable time on projects or working with their teams, these managers keep finding themselves running to back-to-back meetings. To combat this common difficulty, NEOS recommends these 3 tactics, based on suggestions from our clients’ managers themselves, to reduce time spent in meetings.

  1. Define an objective and an agenda in advance of the meeting

    If you often find yourself unsure of the purpose of the meeting (i.e. listening to a policy admin system update or weighing in on how to find more capacity in the claims department), chances are that an objective or agenda are lacking. If you call a meeting, be sure to articulate the purpose to participants ahead of time. If attendees know what to expect, they are more likely to prepare and contribute, ultimately generating a more productive meeting. As an attendee, if you frequently attend meetings and are unsure of the objective or agenda, speak up and ask the organizer what he or she intends to cover in the meeting. This will enable you to evaluate whether it is worth your time and arrive better prepared.

  1. Document and distribute meeting notes

    Many of the managers NEOS has worked with express frustration that they attend meetings that exist purely to update attendees. For example, attending a 2 or 3 hour long department meeting when you only need a few minutes’ worth of information is not an effective use of time. Taking down clear, concise notes in a meeting and saving them in a retrievable place, like SharePoint, and distributing a link to relevant parties can save time for those who do not need to be there and make meetings more productive for those who do.

  2. Recap and note action items

    This final step only takes a few minutes but is often neglected. If customer service managers walk out of a meeting saying, “that was a great discussion, but who is going to make that happen?” the facilitator did not effectively recap. Recapping and delineating action items are highly effective methods for extracting value from a meeting. These simple actions can help keep managers from revisiting the same material in repeat meetings.

NEOS has witnessed these three strategies make meetings more productive. While these strategies can help reduce the amount of time spent in meetings, be aware that there could be larger forces at work such as an imbalance between resources and staffing needs. When managers remember to define an objective, document minutes, and recap meeting discussion, meetings can run much more smoothly and better serve their purpose.