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Meetings: Indispensable or waste of time?

HumanergyMeetingsMeetings: Indispensable or waste of time?

Jul

23

2009

Meetings: Indispensable or waste of time?

People hate meetings. Or at least they feel strongly enough about them to create a seemingly-endless list of negative quotes about meetings. Here are more of our favorites, this time with a “committee” focus.

“To kill time, a committee meeting is the perfect weapon.” Author Unknown

“A committee is a cul-de-sac to which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”  Barnett Cocks

Tired of killing time in your meetings? Use field-tested meeting best practices to get things done.

Start and finish on time. Establish a firm practice of respecting people’s time by starting and ending when you say you will. Once meeting attendees figure out you’re not going to wait for them or repeat information they need to know, they’ll be more likely to show up on time. Setting a time limit on each agenda item will help you finish punctually.

Keep everyone focused. Turn off cell phones, don’t answer email and meet off-site if people are more likely to be disturbed in the office. These measures can be difficult and unpopular. However, people will be more willing to disconnect from the rest of the world if you only meet when it’s really necessary and stay focused on what is imperative.

Follow an output-driven agenda. For every agenda item, outline what you need to achieve. For example, “Brainstorm at least 15 tag line alternatives” or “Align the team on the product launch objectives.”

Make sure the right people are in the room. If you start saying, “It would be nice to have Ito there,” think again. Bring the essential people together, and find other ways to get input from more extraneous, but still helpful, resources.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Assign pre-work and make sure it gets done. Doing research in advance will prepare you to look at all sides of your issue and allow you to use meeting time most productively.

These are only a few of Humanergy’s meeting best practices. If you’re not ready to apply more discipline to your meetings, consider what this lack of focus is costing you. There’s a handy resource online that allows you to input the number of people in the meeting and their average hourly salary. You can keep that running during your meeting to watch the ticker add up how much your meeting is costing the organization.

And remember, that’s just part of the outlay for your meeting. Add in the lost opportunities, like that big customer you didn’t land because you were in a meeting and didn’t take time to follow up on a proposal.

You cannot afford to waste one more minute in an unproductive meeting.

Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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