Meetings or Work? – A Modern Dilemma

Posted July 23rd, 2007

What is it with business people and meetings? I’ve lost count of the mundane, ineffective and downright pointless meetings that I have had the misfortune to attend so far this year. If one more person drags me half way across the country to attend a meeting about the meeting before it I’m pretty sure I will throw myself out of the meeting room window.

I’m not against meetings per se, but it seems that people are pre-occupied with talking about issues rather than getting their hands dirty and actually dealing with them. I guess it’s easier to imbed yourself in a days worth of appointments talking about ‘the state of the business’ than it is to spend time actually trying to resolve anything.

The trouble with this abundance of dross gatherings is that it turns people off to the worthwhile meetings that really do help to address ‘real issues’, which can create a positive benefit to the future of the business.

So, for those of you that are interested only in positive meetings with purpose, let’s lay down some guidelines…

1) Never call a meeting if the information can be distributed or matter resolved by alternative, simpler means.

2) Provide a clear agenda and any relevant information to those due to attend the meeting. If they are required to prepare information, let them know.

3) Only invite people that absolutely need to be there.

4) Always start and end the meeting on time.

5) Stick to the topics on the agenda.

6) Be clear on the goals of the meeting and work towards them.

7) Do not allow AOB to become inane ramblings. If people want to have a general chat, ask them to do it elsewhere.

8) Prepare for the meeting and be clear on the content. If you have not prepared adequately then postpone, avoid bringing people together to ‘chat around the topic’.

9) Avoid ‘satellite’ meetings. If you can combine topics and all relevant people are due to be there, do so.

10) If the meeting becomes no longer necessary, don’t have it!

See, simple really isn’t it? So stop calling a meeting every time you need a break from the real work and start planning for successes. If you want to have a moan, save it for the water cooler!

You can download our new training resource on ‘Leading Meetings’ at our website


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