…should not be in charge of anything.” Or so said Thomas Sowell. A quick perusal of on-line quotation sites gives you a gauge of how people feel about meetings. Quotations on the subject are universally negative. This one’s by Dave Barry: “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”
There are times when I agree with Dave. Take a recent meeting of a group I’ll refer to as ABC Committee. (The name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.) ABC Committee had an agenda that was kinda sorta followed. Participants felt the need (and permission) to interject seemingly humorous and unrelated comments at any time. The meeting droned on 30 extra minutes. When it finished, I would defy anyone who’d attended to state even one concrete outcome. It was a total waste of everyone’s time.
Even Wikipedia has the definition of meetings wrong. (Another reason not to trust Wikipedia!) They refer to meetings essentially as “discussing stuff.” Way wrong. Meetings are about accomplishing your desired outcomes, which can be to:
- Make a decision
- Ensure understanding and coordination
- Engage creativity
- Team development
Isn’t it fun how that spells MEET?
The next time you’re planning a meeting, do everyone a favor and figure out what you’re going to achieve. It can be one or more of the above. If you can’t pinpoint one of these four reasons, don’t meet. (Oh, joy!) And when you finish the meeting, evaluate how well you achieved your objectives. You’ll learn a lot about how to improve in the future.
Knowing what your meeting will deliver is the foundation of a great meeting. Fewer meetings is the foundation of happiness (or darn close to it).
Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!