Do you have days where you head into work knowing that you’ll probably get little ‘real work’ done. Undoubtedly the reason you’ll get little work done is because you will spend the day in meetings. Perhaps you suffer from the newest workplace chronic condition – meetingitis.
Let’s face it. Meetings are an essential part of business. Meetings are where problems get solved, ideas get shared, and working relationships are built and deepened. There is no avoiding them.
So why are we living in meetings? Many reasons actually.
- If your workplace is a collaborative environment, decisions may be made by consensus. This can create a great work environment where everyone’s input is heard.
- Teams rather than individuals often perform work. Determine if this is the most productive approach.
- Meetings are often poorly managed. Ever attend a meeting where all the meaningful discussion happened in the last 10 minutes.
Really want to improve the meetings in your workplace? Here are a few ideas to really shake things up:
- Remove all the chairs from the meeting room. Hold standing meetings.
- Check all handheld technology at the door or pile on the center of the table. This will help keep everyone present in the moment, engaged and focused on the discussion.
- Try scheduling 30-minute meetings and put a timer on the table visible for all to see.
- Divide and conquer may be more productive. Ask individuals to take responsibilities for portions of the work. Then share the work in a team collaboration tool (NOT EMAIL) where comments, edits and revision tracking can be utilized.
- Make sure there is a clear agenda for the meeting. Invite only those who need to be there. Stay on task and summarize action items for follow-up.
- Advocate for ‘meeting free zones’ – blocks of time when no meetings are held. Start with Friday afternoons, then really shake it up and have “Meeting Free Fridays”.
While you can’t avoid meetings, perhaps a few of these techniques will make meetings more fun and productive, giving you plenty of time to get the work done that comes out of your meetings.