Meetings: Are yours a waste of time?

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In the last week, I’ve been involved in a few really interesting team meetings, and while this isn’t unusual, these ones were particularly strong in showing how team dysfunctions create meetings that are a waste of everybody’s time.

Dysfunctional meetings don’t just make people feel disconnected from their work but they also create a slow deterioration of productivity and creativity in solutions, due to a lack of interest.

Dysfunctions – lack of leadership running the agenda, way off track on the meeting subject, people posturing for significance in the conversation, attendees too scared to say what they really feel because there is a lack of trust, some attendees on their phones and laptops clearly not engaged and nor were they bought to attention that this behaviour wasn’t acceptable, just to name a few!​

If you’re running meetings are you:

  • Pre preparing and thinking about the purpose of the meeting, the outcome required, the key points, questions and flow to get to that outcome and how will you bring energy and enthusiasm to the table so that attendees are engaged, and feel involved.
  • In general, most people don’t create a 5-10 minute space to do this, especially if your day is packed with meetings.  Yet this is so important to make meetings impactful.

Think about these top 10 things next time you are in a meeting or organising a meeting:…….

  1. Make sure the meeting is necessary 
  2. Invite the right people
  3. Have an agenda even if it’s just your point list for keeping the flow 
  4. Communicate at the start your objectives and outcome required
  5. Keep the conversation on task and not waffle and off-track
  6. Start on time regardless if people are late, and keep to time, finish on time or earlier! 
  7. Everyone loves a meeting that is succinct, creates an outcome and finishes early
  8. Try and hear from everyone that’s attending – isn’t that the reason you invited them???
  9. Summarise and assign tasks, deadlines and next steps if required and check if there are any last inputs from anyone attending
  10. Thank everyone for attending and that includes if it’s a Zoom meeting!

And remember don’t make it all about you and your voice and opinion, you asked other people to attend for a reason!

If you’d like to read more about how to have great meetings then I recommend reading Death by Meeting By Patrick Lencioni  – a great read!

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