“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” – Thomas Sowell
I loathe meetings. Loathe them. This is not backed by any kind of data, but I believe that roughly 99.9% of meetings are inherently pointless. Why is this? Again, unscientifically, people like to talk things to death. Some people like to hear themselves talk…a lot. Some people don’t know any other way.
This isn’t to say that meetings can’t be productive; they can. Just remember a few things:
Have something relevant to say. Stay on topic. Don’t ramble. Just because you scheduled a meeting for 30 minutes doesn’t mean it has to last that whole time.
Know your audience. Read your audience. If you’ve lost them, it should be painfully obvious. Those bored looks and droopy eyelids don’t equal captivation. (Coaches, pay special attention here. I know coaches that can unleash half hour dissertations in their post game talks. Trust me, you lost them after about four minutes. Saying every single word in your vocabulary doesn’t help get your point across. It hinders the delivery of your message. I’ve done some personal research on this. You should, too. I talked to my players directly and asked for honest feedback. Most of the time they know where they’ve screwed up, so rehashing it over and over just beats a seriously dead horse. Short, simple, concise. The end.)
Ask yourself, can this information be better or just as easily disseminated through email? If it can, no need to pull people away from their tasks.
As a meeting participant, before you ask questions that will inevitably derail the meeting, ask yourself a couple questions: is this pertinent to the focus of the meeting? Would this question be better asked one-on-one? Will my question benefit the group as a whole?
Meetings don’t have to be pointless snooze-fests. There is value in them when done properly. Stay on task, keep it simple, and ask pertinent questions.
Have an awesome Monday,