Why are people so crazy for a meeting? How many times have you found yourself dreaming about last nights’ curry or imagining your colleagues were talking animals in suits? All too often the purpose of a meeting gets lost and nobody really knows what is happening, what they are talking about or why they are there. Week in, week out they are tangled in a never ending conversation that is going nowhere. I have been there! We’ve all been there.
The average employee sits through approximately 6000 meetings during their career and 6 out of 10 described those meetings as pointless. An article by HR Grapevine reports that during these ‘pointless’ meetings 70% zoned out, 48% doodled, 31% thought about what they were going to have for dinner and 29% just stared out the window.
What does this tell us? That people love to meet about meeting? That employees are bored, unengaged and could be at their desk doing something much more productive?
Here are my top tips for your future meetings:
1. Rules! If there is nothing to say, don’t just meet anyway to regurgitate last weeks’ points. Have rules in place to cancel the meeting or you are going to lose the attention of your team.
2. Don’t be late, don’t run over. Clear start and finish times with little room for leeway. 30 minutes should be all you need, hit an hour and attention dwindles, staff get bored and you momentum to action starts to get lost.
3. Go into the meeting with a clear agenda and don’t forget to add some extra time for chit chat: it is good for productivity as long as it is relevant. You can chat about Suits/The Euros/delete as required on your tea break.
4. Stand up! No, I am not insane, meetings take 34% less time when people are stood and take it outside the boardroom. Fresh air, the local café or even down in reception to shake things up.
5. Stop! If the agenda is lengthy, schedule in some time for a breather and regain attention.
6. Odro’s very own Ryan taught me this one (probably because I like to chat), take time to pause, don’t feel you always need to keep talking. Great ideas come out of silence.
7. Why are you here? If you don’t know, don’t go.
8. Use technology: this isn’t 1982! Welcome video, avoid travel, cut costs and embrace technology.
9. Finish with a clear action. Who is doing what and when? Assign tasks and deadlines. Otherwise people leave, dreamy, grateful for a cuppa and a biccy and with no clue of the next steps.
So the next time you are to book and facilitate a meeting, consider my tips, consider if you really need a meeting and make a decision based on that.