Meetings can be a source of creativity and motivation – a time when team collaboration and leadership combine and create the space for achieving organisational goals.
Middle managers spend an estimated 35% of their time in meetings. Upper managers spend half their time in meetings. But 67% of these meetings are woefully unproductive, costing businesses more than $37 billion a year. They are necessary, Unfortunately, more often, meetings are just an unproductive and inefficient waste of time.
One key reason meetings can be such a waste of time is that there is NO plan or a process.
Without a clear process, there might be very dysfunctional dynamics. Some people might talk too much, others not enough. Some will dominate and lead the group down irrelevant tangents; Some will find fault with every idea, and some will nit-pick every detail. Some will make distracting comments, and assertive people will finally have enough. Meanwhile, some people simply drop out, and it’s only after the meeting that you hear what they really think.
Meetings are important — and good meetings are the secret sauce in the recipe for Getting Stuff Done Well.
If your business is suffering from a case of Bad Meeting-itis, you might want to look at trying a few of the below secrets to running meetings that energise rather than demoralise.
- Identify the purpose of a meeting – The one legitimate reason for a meeting is so people can interact on a particular subject. If you’re holding the meeting just to present information, reconsider!
- Small groups – A meeting is not a party, so “the more the merrier” does not apply. A Meeting should be small groups of smart people.
- Create the agenda – An agenda is like a flight plan. Without it, you might as well be inflating a balloon, leaving the end untied, then letting it go on its wild way – Use the POP principle – PURPOSE, OUTCOME AND PROCESS
- Keep it short – There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a meeting watching the clock tick by. Meetings should not drag on for hours – or even half an hour. Research shows that our attention span is between 10 – 18 minutes, so the most innovative organisations know that a meeting should be short.
- Set ground rules – Ask people directly to NOT look at their email or IM during the meeting. Work culture pushes us to multi-task, but meetings already have multiple tasks – you need to listen, talk, reflect, absorb and connect
- Make notes – Ensure that the person taking the notes keep a running list of decisions and a list of action items
- Location – A boardroom and PowerPoint is enough to put people to sleep. Richard Branson suggests innovative ideas will come from innovative spaces.
- Think on your feet – A recent study also found “that when people stand during meetings they appeared more excited by their work, acted less territorial about their ideas, and interacted better as a team”. Plus, standing also reportedly cuts meeting times by 25%.
When you plan a meeting always ask yourself if it is a meeting that must happen at all. If it does make sure to stick to the flight plan so that the participants look forward to the next meeting.
Young Up Starts