For People Who Are Sick of Attending Boring, Unproductive Meetings
It’s difficult to be happy at work if you’re bored. And one of the most frequent complaints about boredom in office etiquette is the meeting. Whether in-person, on the phone or via the web most people think there are too many boring meetings. A large portion of those meetings are not very productive, as the results of this study and this one contest.
So what makes most meetings so unproductive? I think it’s because people forget that you only need to have a meeting for one reason: Some type of ACTION is required to solve a business problem or issue.
If there is no action needed then there shouldn’t be a meeting.
An agenda helps to create a more productive meeting, especially if it’s distributed prior to the meeting. Bonus points for including the agenda as a part of the meeting invitation.
Note taking is important to ensure things move forward after the meeting concludes. How many of us have been to a meeting where we simply re-hashed what was discussed at the previous meeting?!
Your notes should be simple. Action items listing the person responsible, what the action is and when it should be concluded – or if longer term, when the person will update the group. This list is incorporated into the agenda, if a follow up meeting is necessary.
The third and final tip for managing a successful meeting is to have a hard stop time. Wasting time at work is irritating to most people. If someone wants to waste time at the office, trust that it’s not at your meeting. So be respectful of people’s time. State the amount of time scheduled and alert all participants that you’re going to do your best to run the meeting on time.
A couple of hints for you to think about regarding meetings. The first is for one-on-one meetings. If it’s just two people consider having a ‘walking meeting.’ Print your agenda, grab a pen and especially if it’s a nice day, grab your coworker and take a walk outside to work through the items. Note the actions to each agenda item so you can follow up with notes after your walk. Research shows this type of meeting can spark creativity. Try it and see.
Final hint for those meetings with more than two people in a conference room or office. If the meeting is expected to be short, like 20 minutes or less, consider a standing meeting. That’s right, everyone stands up rather than sitting around a table. It’s healthier and the meeting will probably be shorter because people will engage in fewer sidebar conversations and thereby stay more focused.
Try these ideas for a meeting folks will look forward to attending. Or print this blog post and discreetly place it on the chair of the person in your office who most needs to implement these tools. All your colleagues will thank you.