I have one client who seems to have meetings just about when, where and what should be included in their next meeting. Of course, when the next meeting comes around, it isn’t anything like the prior ‘planning meeting.’
If I had to work there every day, I think I would jump off the 48th floor. I myself hate 'staff meetings'. I remember one time I had a boss who had a meeting every day, the only saving grace was that the meeting was NEVER more than 10-minutes (it was more like 'home room' during grade school days than most staff meetings I attended.)
If you are like me and 'hate going to meetings', and yet you have employees, that must attend 'your' meetings, then you must believe that they are probably asking the same kinds of questions you have asked yourself: Questions like:
Why are we having another meeting?
Do we really need a meeting to discuss something that could be explained via email?
Is this important enough for a meeting?
What really is the meeting being called for?
Couldn’t we have handled this with a quick phone call?
The reality is that 'everyone hates meetings' (except meeting organizers). Studies have revealed the following employee frustrations about ‘meetings’; and these 'meeting related complaints' are among the most common worker complaints overall:
- Meetings are not organized and there is no agenda.
- There is no clear purpose or objectives set for the meeting.
- There are no specific meeting related action items or takeaway points.
- The meetings are boring and provide no new or interesting information.
- Meetings are not inspiring or motivating.
- Meetings are too long. Too much information is repeat for late arrivals.
- The meeting presenter is unprepared, monotone, or overly redundant.
- Other workers think they are ‘too important’ to be here on time.
- I know this already, I should have been excluded from having to attend.
If you’re the meeting organizer:
- Make sure the meeting has clear start and end times,
- Has an agenda and then stick to it.
- It’s OK to reply to questions as they come up during your conversation,
- But keep the meeting and conversation going in the right direction,
- If extra items arise, jot them down and discuss them only at the end of the meeting,
- Be sure to address everything as concisely as possible, don’t waste time in idle chit-chat or with periods of silence.
- If a meeting will take longer than 50-minutes either divide the content into multiple well defined meetings (rather than one) or have well defined breaks during the extended meeting.
- End the meeting on time, if not early. Don’t assume those attending have nothing better to do than stay after the intended conclusion.
It is possible to turn 'meetings' into worthwhile events, but that is exactly what they need to be 'an event', not an everyday occurrence. Let's face it, we don't need a 'home room' every day, we left grade school long ago.