Think about your workplace and the meetings that you attend throughout the week. Which ones are well-run and which are a waste of time?
What is it about the well-run meetings that make them so useful and effective? Do they start on time, end on time and stick to an agenda? Are there next steps and assignments? Are side conversations quickly averted?
How much time do we spend in meetings? According to the online article How Much Time Do We Spend in Meetings? (Hint: It's Scary) by The Muse’s Scott Dockweiler, “If you’re a middle manager, it’s likely about 35 percent of your time, and if you’re in upper management, it can be a whopping 50 percent.” That’s a lot of thinking and creative time wasted.
In 7 Things I’d Love to Change about Meetings on the Wise Bread website, Scott Belsky notes that “Among the most productive leaders and teams I observed throughout the research for my new book, I found that the vast majority of teams shared a healthy hesitation to call meetings.”
In her blog post The Only 3 Reasons to Hold a Business Meeting, Sharlyn Lauby states that the only reasons you should hold a meeting in the workplace are to provide information, to create a mechanism for decision-making, or to provide feedback and discussion. “I’ve never heard a person complain about a meeting that was essential,” says Lauby. “As a general rule, people do not complain when the reason for scheduling the meeting is legit. And they will always complain if the meeting was called and could have been handled with an e-mail.”
And Another Thing …
Is there anything more confusing than a conference call with 10 or more participants? Why is the vibrate setting on a smartphone actually louder and more disconcerting than the ring tone? And why doesn’t Microsoft Outlook offer a 10-minute bathroom break buffer for back-to-back meetings?
One thing’s for sure: Efficient and clear communication is the key to a great meeting, no matter how or where it’s held.
Q1. What are the qualities of a good meeting in the workplace?
Q2. What causes unproductive meetings in the workplace?
Q3. Does your organization have a policy on meetings? If so, what are some of the guidelines?
Q4. How has Microsoft Outlook affected workplace meeting culture for better—and for worse?
Q5. Should PowerPoint be banned from all meetings (if not totally from the workplace)? Why or why not?
Q6. Do stand-up meetings make more sense in today’s time-starved workplaces? Why or why not?
Q7. What are the best ways to keep meeting participants from multitasking during a meeting?
Q8. What are your personal rules for planning and managing a meeting?
Q9. What innovative ideas for meetings have you heard about or experienced recently?