In the last post, we clearly established that meetings can consume an enormous amount of time and produce very little if anything. It is my hope that you will join me in having a healthy disdain for most meetings. That being said, how can we make them work for us rather than against us. Here are the first few ideas to consider.
- Determine if you actually need a meeting. Given that you are interrupting people’s work schedule and moving them into a non-productive/non-revenue producing activity why not stop and think. Do you need to meet? Is there a simpler way to accomplish your task? Would a phone call or email do? Can it wait for an already scheduled, standing meeting or does it require another, separate time? In many cases the answer is no and instead of falling prey to the habit of meeting calling you actually advance.
- Ask who really needs to be in the meeting. Don’t assume that the whole team actually needs to be there. Who needs to know something? Who needs to contribute something? Who needs to approve something? Beyond these reasons, it’s hard to imagine why anyone else should attend. So, don’t invite them. At least you’re not wasting their time.
- Clearly define the purpose or outcome of the meeting that you desire. This may lead you back to Point 1 and make you rethink the need for a meeting. However, if it’s truly needed and you have only the right people attending (leaving others free to produce) ask, “What is the point?” What are you trying to accomplish? Ideation? Decisions? Problem Solving? Planning? Don’t say all of the above. Put in the effort to have a simple and clearly spelled out purpose.
In the next post, we’ll look at a few other tips to make meetings work.