January 4, 2022 10:17 am
Stop the Meeting Overload!
“Meetings Bloody Meetings” coined from John Cleese’s epic parody on the absurdity of some meeting behaviours that carry some truth in the average person’s meeting experience. When meetings lack purpose, participants frequently ask themselves “why am I here?!”, “when is this going to end?” and “I could be working on XYZ instead of sitting here doing nothing”, etc. Therefore, it’s clear that we want to ensure we hold meetings for the right reasons with the right people.
Hold an In-Person/Virtual Meeting If…
- The purpose (the ‘why we’re having a meeting’) is clear and relevant to those attending
- The outcomes (the ‘what’ of the meeting) are clear and relevant to those attending (e.g., addresses “what’s in it for me?”)
- There is some process or structure in place to manage each agenda topic discussion, so dialogue doesn’t go off-topic or people don’t dominate
- The agenda is strategic (e.g., setting a Vision/Mandate, Objectives, etc.)
- The meeting topics are essential to creating alignment among members
- The meeting is geared to build and/or improve relationships among members
- It’s a team’s first meeting (new project or team)
- There is a legal requirement to hold one (e.g., an Annual General Meeting)
- One of the three C’s holds true for your topic. That is the topic is Confidential, Contentious, or Controversial
- There is a definitive need for collaboration (e.g., make a decision, solve a problem, enhance communications, getting feedback, etc.)
To determine if you need a meeting ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the proposed meeting, at minimum, adhere to criteria 1. to 4. above?
- Could the information be shared via email or a shared collaboration space/tool without having to meet?
- What could happen if I don’t have a large meeting, but rather meet one on one with proposed attendees? Would this provide better value in achieving my outcomes?
- Will we have all the right people present and the right amount of time to achieve the intended outcomes?
- Will I have enough time to get all required pre-work completed in time to send out the participants in a timely manner?
And, finally …
- Will the time, energy and resources used to run the meeting be justified?
Addressing the above questions should help clarify if you need to hold a meeting versus sending out a survey, providing a status update, sharing info, etc.
Next steps, check out our blog post on Setting Your Meeting Up For Success