17 Apr Meetings Suck And What You Should Do Instead
Meetings have started to feel like corporate penance. They’re tedious, boring and time-consuming. At best, they’re a good time to check emails, plan your day or reach a new level of Candy Crush. Pretty soon, it feels like the clock is moving backwards and you’d rather be called for jury duty than sit through one more pointless, mismanaged meeting.
Not only can they be big time-wasters, they can cost your business money. It’s been estimated that unnecessary meetings cost US businesses $37 billion per year. Yikes!
The reality is that meetings are how people come together to solve problems, so it’s important that they’re done right to achieve what they’re designed to achieve – RESULTS.
So, before you or your team schedules yet another meeting, consider these meeting hacks to control for 3 of the biggest complaints many people have before a meeting. By doing so, you’ll spur innovation and decision-making in 20min or less. Promise.
What’s the point?
Go mission critical – clearly identify what needs to get done and who you need to involve to make it happen. A “staff meeting” for staff meeting sake is a huge waste if what actually needs to be tackled that day doesn’t involve or affect the entire staff. Have an agenda that outlines the goals of the meeting so people come prepared. With just the right people in the room and a concise discussion plan, there isn’t a lot of extra chatter or time spent on anything but what needs to get done. Less is more.
Great, time for another “top-down” discussion
Consider having a facilitator run the meeting, not the highest ranking manager. I know, if you’re the boss and the man with the plan, you probably have no desire to sit back and let someone else run the show. What you’re actually doing is letting someone else run the flow of the meeting, not the content.
This may surprise you, but meetings are much more efficient when a lower-ranking individual takes charge of the process (agenda, location, attendees, keeping people on task during the meeting). When managers are in charge of content and process, meetings prove less efficient. Collaboration and productivity also decline if junior attendees feel stifled or inhibited by rank. A meeting started by a facilitator tends to put everyone on equal footing, which is a great way to really mine the intellectual and creative juices of the individuals who work for you.
Why should I care about this?
Give people something to care about in the first 5 minutes. We decide whether we like or care about something – book, movie, person, etc. – in the first few minutes. Starting off a meeting with a review of last year’s budget is sure to get you yawns and people stepping out to take imaginary phone calls. Put that sort of thing in an email. The key is that there needs to be something people can actually rally around. Couch things in terms of what decisions needs to be made that will define the company and its mission over the next year. What’s in it for them? How can they bring their skills to bear and really make a difference?
The best leaders inspire and motivate and meetings can be an exciting part of moving a business forward, not only saving you time and money, but also saving your sanity. Implement these 3 simple steps and you’ll create a space where people excitedly come together to brainstorm and strategize around the critical issues facing your business.
Have questions? Let us show you how it’s done.