It’s rare that I talk to someone who doesn’t think his or her company or organization couldn’t improve their meeting culture. Meetings should be about coordinating action and making real progress. Leaders should be planning meetings that actively encourage productive conflict. (More on the topic of productive conflict in a future issue.) What many employees experience instead is an energy- and productivity-sapping exercise in frustration. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you are responsible for organizing meetings in your organization, please consider the following questions in your planning.
- What is the purpose of the meeting? If there is no clearly understood and compelling purpose to hold a meeting, send an email update instead. Meetings with a purpose to inform only are not usually worth the time. Include the purpose in the electronic meeting invite to help your colleagues prepare. (More on the topic of agenda preparation also coming in a future issue.)
Daily standup meetings or regular staff meetings likely have a consistent purpose, but it is still worth the time to think carefully about, articulate, and get agreement on that purpose as a strategy to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
- What is the best format for the meeting? Does the meeting require face-to-face communication and participation for its purpose to be achieved? If not, a virtual meeting or conference call may be a more efficient use of everyone’s time. And, of course, in our current Covid situation and with distributed work teams, virtual meetings may be the norm in your organization. If it is a small enough group and the space or weather allows, consider a walking meeting occasionally to generate some new energy.
- Who needs to attend? Review your meeting purpose and outcomes (see issue #2 for information about creating effective meeting outcomes) and make sure you have people with the information and authority to achieve the outcomes. Having extra people attend just in case they are needed is rarely a good use of employee time.
Having a meaningful purpose is just a start, but I wouldn’t want to attend a meeting without one.
A Thought To Ponder #
To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.
Something Delightful #
I was crushed when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed as I am a sucker for feel-good Olympic stories. Here’s one of my favorites: