Meetings are frequently mentioned in my conversations with leaders as a source of frustration and a barrier to productivity. Meetings do take time, and sometimes it feels like that time is wasted. However, meetings are essential for sharing information, making decisions, and fostering innovation. We can’t get rid of meetings; they are here to stay. But we can reduce the time we spend in meetings through better planning.
Two key questions I keep at the forefront are:
1. Why are we having the meeting?
2. Who should be at the meeting?
People often hold meetings for the sake of meeting. There is a Monday morning meeting because, “well, there has always been a Monday morning meeting – that’s when we meet”. In reality, the meeting may not be needed.
First, we must be clear about the purpose of our meeting and consider whether we even need to meet at all. Second, it is important to be clear about who should be at the meeting.
If only a few people speak at a meeting, this is a sure sign that there are too many people there. Unless the meeting is happening for purely informational purposes, all employees present should have something to contribute.
I have found that it is usually best to have frequent, smaller, and shorter meetings with the right people as opposed to larger, longer meetings with the wrong people.
When meetings are planned thoughtfully and facilitated effectively, they can be extremely helpful for enhancing the productivity of an organization. Meetings should be a tool for productivity, not a hindrance.
To learn more download the free handout on my website titled Effective Team Meetings. For additional insights, be sure to purchase my book, The Ordinary Leader.