The 5 Best Ways to End Meeting Mayhem
At times, getting a root canal seems a better way to spend your precious time than to sit through another dull, boring, and worse, unproductive meeting. Think:
1 Meeting = 1 Hour
People in Meeting = 6
Total Time: 1 Hour WRONG!!
1 Hour Meeting + 6 people = 6 hours!
Can any of us afford such waste? The answer is, of course, no. The bigger questions is why are meetings such a waste of time? Some complaints clients express are:
- Some people talk too much
- Some people don’t talk at all
- Lack of structure
- Poor assignment of action steps or no action steps
- No follow-up or follow-through
- Meetings lack leadership
- Behaviors such as bullying, know-it-alls, side-conversations, getting off topic/rambling; negativity, griping, and ego battles run amok
It doesn’t have to be like this. While I am not of the mindset that there should be no meetings, in order to have effective meetings, you need to know the following five important steps to help prevent meeting mayhem:
1. When to have a meeting
To begin, decide if a meeting is even necessary. For example, if you are having a meeting merely to gather information, could this be better accomplished through a tool like Survey Monkey, a quick email, or even a short questionnaire?
As far as when to have a meeting, decide if Monday morning is really the best time. Managers are still thinking about the weekend and need to delve into work to catch up with staffers. This is particularly the case if your organization is 24 hours such as a hotel or if it is global as work occurs at all hours in different time zones.
2. The purpose of the meeting
The purpose of the meeting should be made clear. For example, if the meeting is to gather data, is the data to be gathered to lay a foundation to establish polices or procedures? If it is a feedback meeting, is the purpose to establish better customer service guidelines?
3.The type of meeting
Some frequently held meetings are those for
- Information sharing
- Discussing important topics
- To align a team
- Procuring feedback
- Strategic meetings
- Brainstorming meetings
When advertising or inviting people to the meeting, be clear about the type of meeting you are calling. This gives people the opportunity to, at the very least, know if they should even attend and it allows for better preparation on the part of attendees. The latter alone, could save untold amounts of time and increase productivity.
4.Who should attend
For the person planning the meeting, be sure you include all who should attend, but be mindful of inviting EVERYONE. It’s perfectly OK to check with someone if you are unsure. At least the person is given the option. And if you do the right thing and take minutes, the individual(s) can always read them later.
For those receiving meeting invitations, it’s perfectly OK to check with the individual who sent the invite to double check to see if you really need to attend.
5.What action steps you want to come from the meeting
It is wise to know whom action steps need to be assigned to if you are serious about having these tasks completed. People who are not good or do not know how to do a particular task will not perform the task or at best perform it poorly. Set guidelines and dates for completion. Follow-up before the assignments are due. Before the next meeting, ask about progress or for the finished project, which may be in the form of a report.
Simply following these five guidelines will save untold hours and ensure your organization of more effective meetings. If leadership is an issue at meetings, then provide training either on or off property. A good leader can make or break the effectiveness of a meeting.
Understanding behaviors can also help reduce meeting mayhem. In any attempt to understand behavior, we must first understand ourselves. Then we can begin to understand others and adapt our own behavior accordingly. This enhances communication. The better the communication, the better and more productive the meeting minus the mayhem.