Why don't we have more meetings?

Why don’t we have more meetings? How often have you heard someone say that? Probably not that often. It is more likely that people have been frustrated about too many meetings to attend – they need that time to work!
What if we instead would really think that our meetings were something that drove the business forward and that would help us to increase our competitiveness? What if we could ensure that every meeting gave added value and that everyone who attended a meeting really knew why they were there, what they want to get out of the meeting and what they could contribute with.
Various studies show that managers use on average one third of their time to lead or participate in various meetings. A majority of executives felt that many meetings lacked a clear purpose and goal and that too many of those who attending were not sufficiently prepared. In one survey around 40% of the managers said that they thought the meetings additionally dragged on for too long.
When we work together with other people, we need to have meetings. It’s a fantastic way to get information out to the organization, make necessary decisions and get a chance to discuss solutions and important things important to the business and the organization.
So what do we need to do, especially as someone who is leading a meeting, to ensure a good meeting? A meeting takes place after all both before, during and after the meeting itself, so in addition to spending more time on good preparation itself, there are some simple things to get in place as well:

  • Have a clear purpose and objectives with the meeting (also when it takes place for instance every week)
  • Have a clear and communicated agenda and ensure that everyone knows the purpose of each item and how much time you will spend on each item.
  • Be thorough when selecting who should attend a meeting and how they need prepare for each meeting.
  • Summarize, communicate and document what and who has committed to do something and by when
  • Follow up on decisions and activities so that each item/area develops
  • Evaluate what worked well with the meeting and what might work even better

Although these points may seem obvious, it is often the basic things that slowly but surely make the meetings inefficient and boring. In addition to achieve effective meetings, we need to ensure that the technology works before the meeting, that meetings start and end on time (people also need to have enough time to get to their next meeting in time).
Many meetings will be large (in time and amount of people) although part of the content probably do not concern everyone. Rather have shorter and more meetings with the right/appropriate people so that everyone wants and can be engaged, listen and participate actively throughout the meeting. Even dare to challenge the form of the meeting – if it benefits the purpose of the meeting better by changing the format, changing location/setting, changing the start of the meeting, having the meeting standing up or walking around gets test it. All ideas are welcome as long as they benefit the aim of the meeting and pushes them to becoming more effective and rewarding.
We should look forward attending our meetings. So let us have more great meetings!

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