How much time do you waste attending poorly run meetings?

There are millions meetings take place in the corporate world daily. Although there is no evidence I would suspect that half the time spent, is probably wasted. Why do we have so many unproductive meetings?

One reason for so many meetings is that is that decisions and conclusions are indecisive and team members often find themselves returning to the same issues and decisions. That occurs when individuals feel they were not part of the decision making process and do not fully accept the results. They go off to perform their own activities not following the team’s decision, only to find that the subject resurfaces and needs further discussion.

Every team has the potential to achieve great meetings, it’s a matter of outlining the meeting structure and it is the responsibility of organizer of the meeting to outline the meeting structure and process.

The basic problems with meetings:

– Try to accomplish too much.
– Lack clear objectives and/or organization.
– Lack clearly defined roles for participants.
– Lack clear collaborative outcome

Before you even consider setting a meeting, it is critical that the necessity of the meeting is determined. Once the purpose and agenda is full understood only contributing attendees should be invited. How many meetings have we been in where half the attendees do not contribute nor do they have any direct knowledge or contribution to the meeting agenda? Often, additional resources are needed; it could be as simple as a specific file, which should be available when needed.

The five elements of well-structured meetings are:

1) Objective – What is the purpose and what will be accomplished?

2) Time and Place – Where will the meeting take place and how long will the meeting last?

3) Leaders role – what will the Leader be responsible for in the meeting and what will they need to prepare prior to the meeting?

4) Participants role – what will the Participants be responsible for in the meeting and what will they need to prepare prior to the meeting?

5) Intended Outcome – what decisions or conclusions will be reached by the end of the meeting and what actions will be taken?

Meetings are often scheduled throughout the year at predetermined dates and times, however just because the meeting is scheduled, doesn’t mean you have to hold it. Obviously, if there is something productive to be gained by the meeting then it makes sense to proceed, however if talking with one individual gains the same results, cancel the meeting and save time. If the information is straightforward and requires no real discussion then an email or phone call may be an acceptable alternative to a meeting.

In conclusion, if you chose to have a meeting the secret to a successfully conducted meeting is the management of the structure of the meeting, content and flow and managing attendees interaction as a group, while being focused on intended outcomes. The leader can be compared to the controller in a tower at the airport, his job is to keep air traffic proceeding in the right direction, controlling speed and altitude, that’s all there is to it and greater success!

Thanks for reading. I hope you found the article interesting. I’d really welcome your feedback on this article or let me know if there is a new topic that you would like to discuss.

To Greater Success,
Chris Bartholomew
Founder & CEO
4X Inc