Meetings have obtained a really bad reputation. You can find countless blog and forums posts online about people saying how useless meetings are. There are also entrepreneurs who have made the decision to run their companies without any meetings. Although the complaints people have about meetings are valid, that doesn’t mean this activity is truly terrible.
The problem with many meetings and why they’ve gotten such a bad reputation is they’re held with no real purpose. When there’s a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting, it’s going to be a waste of time. And since most people already have more on their plate than they can handle, wasting their valuable time during the day is going to leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Despite the fact that a significant percentage of meetings are a waste of time, there are some key reasons why meetings do still matter. In fact, when done correctly, meetings can be highly efficient and eliminate the wasted time via distractions that often occur with different forms of electronic communication.
So if you want to make sure that everyone involved actually gets value from the meetings they attend, here’s how to make it happen:
Although this may sound obvious, far too many meetings are held without having an agenda to follow. By putting together exactly what needs to get done during the meeting, you can help prevent it from going on and on.
Meetings are about communication and collaboration. But that doesn’t mean these events should be without a leader. By giving every meeting a leader, you can ensure that someone will be able to keep things moving along if they ever start to stall or drift.
Look around an average meeting and you’ll see many people on their laptop or phone. The reason is they want to have something to do while they’re sitting for an hour or more. However, if you’re going to have a focused meeting, people shouldn’t be on their devices. Letting people know that their full attention will make the meeting as productive and brief as possible is a good way to get them on board with this plan.
As a general rule of thumb, meetings are best when they involve a maximum of seven people. If you feel like a meeting requires more attendees, first ask yourself if there’s a way to break up the list into smaller and more focused groups that can have their own meetings.
The last five to ten minutes of a meeting should be used to ensure that everyone knows what they need to get done and by when. Ending with this type of clarity will benefit everyone and leave them with a positive impression of the meeting’s usefulness.
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