Are your meetings a waste of time?

‘Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.’ – John Kenneth Galbraith

Does your company have non-stop meetings? Are they boring, unfocussed and time-consuming? Do these meetings get in the way of ‘real work’?

I find it strange that the activity (meetings) which is most central to effectively running organisations is so often unproductive. Information flow is critical and good meetings can accelerate decision making and communication. This is why I find it mind-blowing that companies and teams don’t establish ways to maximise the value of every single meeting.

I list a few ideas how to optimise your meetings:

1.     Deliberate, thoughtful planning for every meeting is a key. Most people seem to pitch up for a meeting because that’s the regular scheduled time, then only do they switch on. No preparation.

2.     Lay out what needs to be discussed and by whom.

3.     Participants must be encouraged to express honest opinions. Poor managers don’t invite debate and even conflict. This is vital to good decision making and ultimately good execution.

4.     Have a meeting audit. Just because a regularly held meeting was critical in the past, doesn’t mean it delivers value today. Do an audit of frequently scheduled meetings to maximise frequency, length, format and attendees.

5.     Create an effective agenda.  Setting up an agenda is often a basic that is overlooked in meetings. And I don’t mean the same standard agenda that has been existence for five years.

6.     Ensure active facilitation. The chair should do much more than see that the meeting stays on schedule. The chair must frame subjects in a way that leads to participation and focus. The goal of the meeting is to discuss, debate, agree, solve problems and provide strategy.

‘A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.’ – James T. Kirk

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

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