There are lots of things that waste our time. But probably one of the most aggravating things is sitting in an unproductive meeting, thinking of five other things you could be doing instead. Next to the need to change email culture, I often hear from organizations that they have a serious issue surrounding meetings.
So how does one change the meeting culture of an organization? As with a lot of change, it’s most effective when it is modeled by leaders. So if you’re a supervisor, manager or officer within your organization, take note that others are watching. When you model positive change, others are more apt to follow your example.
If you frequently host meetings, keep these things in mind.
- Forget the “movie watchers” – those who don’t contribute to discussions and solutions. In other words, invite only those who participate. When people continue to get invited to your meetings, they’ll feel respect…both from you and towards you.
- Always start on time. Waiting even a few minutes for late comers punishes those on time. Being punctual in starting your meeting is a simple way to show you value their time. Finishing early is another.
- When late comers decide to make their appearance, don’t stop the meeting to catch them up. Let them figure things out or get an update from someone else.
- If you schedule your meetings for an hour, evaluate that time allotment. Often it’s chosen because “meetings always take that long.” Could you complete your discussions and decisions in 30 or 45 minutes? If so, schedule a shorter meeting and make sure your attendees are aware of the new time format.
- If your meeting is going to last several hours, consider having refreshments on hand for your attendees. Everyone will love you.
- Stop hosting meetings to provide updates only. Schedule a meeting only if decisions need to be made. Updates can be provided via email.
- Don’t forget the effectiveness of an agenda and time keeper for your meetings. Both serve to keep you on task and moving things forward.