How many times have we gone to a meeting or hung up from a conference call and asked, ‘What was that about?’
Over the past few months, a colleague and I have repeatedly made
that comment regarding meetings we have been asked to attend. And to be
honest, even with best intentions, every single one of us have hosted
meetings that have been deemed a waste of time by at least one
person in attendance. I have never been a big fan of meetings for the
sake of meetings; from where I come from, revenue producing and sales
generating activities were the most valued uses of time. Period. And
frankly, not much has changed. Time with clients, prospective clients,
and creation of materials for sale remain the priority.
Nevertheless, meetings are, of course, a necessary part of business. So
– how can we improve our percentage of meaningful worthwhile meetings?
A few reminder of the basics:
- Pick the right time. Only you and your team can determine
this – as it varies depending on the company, organization, and school.
If we are inconsiderate as to when we schedule meetings and calls, you
may get folks physically present, yet tuned out mentally. Be smart
about this – and do not succumb to the temptation to have the meeting
‘regardless of when.’ It will become an exercise in futility.
- Goals are unclear. How many times have we gone to a meeting
with absolutely NO CLUE what the objective of the meeting is?
Furthermore, how many times have we gone to a meeting for an ‘update’
which could have easily been covered via a phone message or email? The
goals of our meetings need to be communicated in advance. And, we need
to be very clear of the roles the participants of the meeting are to
play. Surprising the participants accomplishes nothing except
unnecessary embarrassment. The process of intimidation by trying to
catch folks off-guard is juvenile. The goals and the appropriate roles
individuals will play in the meeting need to be set and understood in
- Stay on point. When the meeting is going well, and there is
active exchange, it is often easy to go ‘off point’ wanting to take
advantage of the energy. This is a mistake. Keep focused; and if/when
necessary call another meeting.
We have all been party to ‘BS Meetings.’ Believe it or not, they are
avoidable. By simply thinking about (and DOING) these 3 simple tips, we
can improve our odds greatly.