My clients constantly complain about having to attend “useless” meetings. These meetings not only obliterate large chucks of valuable time, they also damage morale.
How can we improve our meetings?
1. First, we must eliminate all unnecessary meetings! This will require a major paradigm shift. Ask yourself: Am I only giving information to my group? If so, use email. Worried that they won’t read your email? Ask them to respond to you within a certain time. (BTW- how do you know they’re listening at a “data dump” meeting? Believe me, they aren’t. ) Even if you can’t eliminate a meeting, you should be able to shorten it significantly. No part of a meeting should be a data dump. That is what emails are for.
2. Only call a meeting when an idea or news requires discussion. If you’re presenting controversial or upsetting information (layoffs, etc.) DO NOT use email. A meeting will allow the listeners to express their feelings, concerns, questions, and thoughts. This is a great use for a meeting.
If you have a problem to be solved or a process to be improved, meetings are an ideal use of the team’s time. But do you know how to lead a discussion so that they best ideas are produced and your time is used effectively?
I’ll tackle this question in my next post. © 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved