Have you ever heard the phrase “that meeting could have been an email?”
Unfortunately, that is often the case.
And while the humble meeting has fallen on hard times in our world these days, I want to suggest that there is still a place for meetings, but maybe a re-imagined place.
We’ve all been in meetings that maybe drug on and on, with no action items or focus or any direction.
One of the hidden wastes is just the waste of people’s time.
It rarely crosses our minds that when we invite 10 people to a one hour meeting, the company is paying each of them whatever they would make for that hour to attend that meeting. When you start to add it all up, it can amount to quite a bit.
We don’t often think that way, but we should.
It’s true that many meetings could have just been an email or a text or a phone call or in person conversation.
But there are definitely times when there is no substitute for a meeting, whether virtual or in-person. If virtual, using video as much as possible.
There is a real value in discussing things face to face, where you can read each other, interact, and ultimately get farther down the road than if you just presented information.
So, if you absolutely do need to have a meeting, maybe start by asking yourself some questions:
1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
2. At the end of the meeting, what would it look like for it to have been a success?
3. Who is absolutely necessary for the meeting?
4. How can I best value everyone’s time?
5. How can I best prepare and have all the info, visuals and more to make the meeting as efficient and beneficial as possible?
Once you’ve asked those questions, make sure that you communicate clearly the length of the meeting and that you work to make sure things move along and that you end the meeting on-time.
There are few things more frustrating than a meeting that is already too long that is now going past the original end time with no end in sight from the meeting organizer.
So as a recap. First see if this is something that could be taken care of without a meeting.
Then, if a meeting is necessary, ask yourself the questions above and then value the time and investment of others in the meeting by keeping it moving, end on time, clarify action items and moderate as needed.
Meetings don’t have to stink. Let’s make meetings great again… unless they could have been an email.
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