Monday, 7 June 2021

How to STOP Pointless Meetings

How to STOP pointless meetings 


If I were about to walk into a lamp post, what advice would you give me? I imagine…
"Stop"
And you'd be right.  Why would anyone keep going on a path which was only going to get more painful?
Which brings me onto meetings…
Some of those meeting you attend will be pointless, useless and mind-numbing wastes of time. To keep going on this path will only make things more painful. Meetings are often seen as an essential element of working in a company or organisation, but why are they so prevalent in todays' working environment. 
"Stop"
And, by this, I mean meetings that…
  • Add nothing to the business – then stop having them
  • Add nothing to you – then stop attending them
  • Include people who can't contribute – then stop inviting them
  • Substitute discussion for decision-making – stop them being an excuse for inaction
  • Are too long – stop putting an hour if you don’t need it, if it can be done in 5 minutes
  • Always start late – stop starting them late! It's disrespectful of everyone's time
  • Nobody has done the prep for – stop the meeting, and say you’ll re-convene when people have done the necessary pre-work. Anything else will waste everyone's time
Sounds easy, but it is not. People often see this type of advice as challenging how companies operate, breaking the  Comfort Zone is often seen as tacking a great taboo. Meetings are seen as a management function, a control mechanism, and above all as a core element of business communication. Meetings are often a default mechanism, rather than a productive communication tool. Habits are difficult to break, the key challenge in breaking them is how to replace them with mass physical (of Zoom) communication with something that looks familiar and is seen to engage (even if it does not) with all levels of the organisation.   
Classically a senior manager calls the meeting, runs the meeting, talks the entire meeting and looks for nodding heads, produces the meeting minutes and tells other senior management that it was successful. Engagement is self-certificated self-rewarding and there is often no understanding of its real impact upon the other attendees.

Action point

List the bullet points above.
And how many of them happened and impacted upon you?  Definitely more than none!
Identify better ways of communicating with your colleagues and make a plan to try these to replace pointless meetings. 

1 comment:

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