I went to Google and searched for an image labeled for reuse for this blog post. I typed in the words “people attending a meeting”. This was the image which came back. Have you ever attended one meeting in your life where everyone looked like the group of people in this photo? Happy, clapping, rested, cheerful, perfect cups of matching coffee, all the sales numbers soaring on the board. Nope? Good – me either.
Do meetings accomplish anything?
Of course, the answer is yes and no, but I feel the answers would be strongly unbalanced toward “no” given the amount of negative sentiment I see out there about meetings in general. Why do you think that is?
What makes a meeting so aggravating?
More often than not you walk into the meeting, greet each other, sit next to the person you enjoy most, and then spend the first 10-15 minutes talking about why you are having a meeting.
Stop. Doing. This.
An agenda with a well-defined plan-of-action is needed for the meeting to be successful. Before you schedule a meeting ask yourself, “Does this really need to be a meeting or could this be an email?” I mean REALLY ask yourself this question. A lot of meetings end with, “This should have been an email.” If in doubt – err on the side of the email.
How many people really need to be in a meeting?
This is another question you need to consider. Who are the key players to accomplish the goal of the meeting? Not everyone needs to be in a meeting. Stop worrying about creating an air of inclusiveness because 75% of the people currently in your meeting do not want or need to be there anyway.
If you are too worried an ax to the meeting invites will not go well, start using the required and optional fields more. This will give people the “out” they want and feel ok to decline to attend.
Be a person of action – set the example for the next meeting. Come prepared with an agenda and invite only the people who truly must be there. You might even send an email and say, “Instead of calling a meeting, I thought I would address this issue and set an agenda on what needs to be accomplished.” You will be the next hero/heroine in the office!