August – Meaningful Meetings
Most of us spend too much time in too many bad meetings. In fact, when asked what you do for a living, it probably wouldn’t be too far from the truth to say “I attend a lot of bad meetings.” One mediocre meeting after another silently damaging our business, yet we allow it to happen. We’ve become complacent about bad meetings. It’s almost as if we don’t believe there is another alternative.
Well I believe meetings matter. But not the kind most of us have. In fact I believe the type of meetings we have been having insulate us from the work we ought to be doing. I am going to focus our challenges this month on changing how you view, plan, manage and monitor meetings in your organization so that you no longer have too many meetings and more importantly too many bad meetings.
There are three common meeting types:
- Convenience Meetings: These meetings are called under the false notion that it is easier to discuss something rather than write it in an effective memo. These rarely add any value and there is no documentation to refer back to.
- Formality Meeting: Meetings called by managers who think it’s their job to hold them, i.e. think the obligatory Monday morning meeting.
- Social Meetings: Meetings called for the purpose of connection. They will easily expand to fit whatever time you allow for these “meetings”.
The first part of your challenge is to think about the last 3 meetings you attended and the next 3 on your agenda. Can you identify what category of meeting type they fall into?
The second part of your challenge is to identify whether you are using the word “meeting” correctly.
Meetings are not:
- Group Work Sessions
If you are using the word meeting to describe any of the above, your challenge this week is to stop and start calling them by their appropriate name.
The third part of your challenge is to eliminate as many meetings as you can from your schedule this week. Ask yourself if the meeting can be replaced with a memo. If you are using your meetings to make announcements, clarify issues or even gather intelligence, cancel the meeting. Meetings are just too expensive and disruptive to justify using them for the most common types of communication. Meetings should be a last resort.
Stop organizing your work around meetings and use all that extra time to use your talents to produce work that contributes directly to your goals.
Stay tuned for next week’s challenge on what the Modern Meeting is and how it should be used.
To Your Success,
The Rector Group
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