Too Many Meetings!

Bad Meeting - Making a Productive MeetingIt’s Tuesday morning and you’re headed down the hall to your weekly staff meeting.  Already you’re dreading the next sixty minutes, which will inevitably turn into ninety, making you late for the proposal meeting right afterwards.  Great start to the week….

Why is it we have so many meetings, given that they are so ineffective (didn’t we just talk about that LAST week?!) and that they are so BORING?!

Well, it may not seem appealing at first, but I say you’re not actually having too MANY meetings… you’re having the WRONG meetings.

If we actually got things accomplished in our meetings, we wouldn’t dread them.  If you got things done that didn’t keep you from your “day job” but actually facilitated and enhanced the effectiveness of your day job, you’d welcome meetings!

So why is that not the case?!

Five Main Reasons:

  1. Wrong people in the meetings.  If the topics cannot be aligned on, decided on and enforced by the people in the meeting, you have the wrong people in the meeting.
  2. Wrong topics at the meeting.  Most groups have a variety of topics they discuss, from the visionary/strategic to the mundane/tactical.  Trying to do all these things in one meeting asks your brain to switch between different modes of thinking which is less than ideal.  It also relates to #3:
  3. Wrong amount of time for the meeting.  You cannot choose the values of the organization in the same way or amount of time you can choose what time the staff party should be.  Strategic meetings take more time and so we should make more time for these issues, not less by trying to crunch them into just part of a weekly staff meeting.
  4. No one respects the meeting.  Meetings that start late or drag on make people feel that’s all OK and that the meeting isn’t important.  If that’s how people act towards the meeting, they’re probably right: it isn’t important.
  5. No one knows how to be in meetings.  If people are worried about saying the wrong thing, or need to take lots of conversations “offline”, then you’re having a bad meeting.  People need better training about how to be in meetings.

In Order to Rectify the Situation, Try These Initial Adjustments:

  1. Examine who comes to the meetings.  Have the person in charge of the meetings determine for each one who is needed.  Invite just those people and be clear that they are there because they are the ones able to decide on the topic.
  2. Set aside different times for different topics.  Tactical meetings can be more frequent but shorter if the right topics are on the docket for the day.  Keep them moving. Strategic meetings need preparation so that people come prepared with research about the topics to be hashed out and decided on.  Those meetings need preparation, as well as someone to make sure every stone is unturned during the meeting itself.
  3. Meetings should move along, whether tactical or strategic.  Strategic topics may need more time individually, but should have many fewer covered per meeting.
  4. Start on time, end on time.  Period.  Make the meetings a priority and respect people’s time.
  5. Trust your team.  Everyone needs to feel they can say their piece in a meeting.  Rather than taking something offline, say it in the meeting so that all can weigh in.  If it truly can be taken offline, it wasn’t a real topic for that group to discuss anyway.  Meetings should be rife with passionate debate and then have everyone leave aligned behind a common goal.

If your meetings aren’t interesting and exciting, call us.  We can get your team functioning with trust and efficiency!

Wouldn’t it be nice to ENJOY your meetings, have them be EXCITING like you’re even looking forward to them, and then have them be EFFECTIVE in moving things swiftly forward?! 

Contact us for your Complimentary Meeting Audit.