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Jennifer Scheer

Principal at Shout Studio

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Are You Living in Meeting Hell?

February 01, 2018

You can't fix ALL the meetings you need to sit through, but you can make sure that YOUR meetings are productive and time well spent for attendees.

Does your calendar look something like this?

02_01_Are You Living In Meeting Hell

And how many of those meetings are truly productive? A meeting is a waste of time if:

  • You don't need to be there.
  • Someone who really does need to be there isn't.
  • The discussion goes off track.
  • There's no clear goal.
  • The meeting organizer isn't prepared.
  • Nobody's paying attention.
  • Communication systems (conference bridge, web conference, etc.) are glitchy.

You can't fix ALL the meetings you need to sit through, but you can make sure that YOUR meetings are productive and time well spent for attendees.

Make sure all attendees know why they are included. Are they a stakeholder? Are they required? Or is it just an FYI? Is there anything they need to know/prepare in advance?

Understand what kind of meeting it is. Is it informational (giving or getting)? Or a working session (make decisions, build plans, etc.)?

Schedule length based on the agenda and desired outcome – and be respectful of people's time. There is no correlation between the importance of the meeting and its length. In other words, if you can get it done in 15 minutes, do it. Don't string it out to an hour just to make it feel more important.

Be super prepared. Know your stuff. Anticipate the questions that will be asked. Know exactly what you want to ask others.

Take control of your meeting. Keep track of time, where you are in the agenda, and what needs to get accomplished. Know your audience and what interests them – and keep them engaged. Know when the tangent or off-agenda discussion is important (and shift gears accordingly) and when it's not (and get the group back on track).

Keeping meetings as effective and efficient as possible not only makes that time productive, it also leaves more time in your schedule for actually getting things done.  

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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Anonymous

April 09, 2018

Excellent Point on the time element. If the meeting is planned for 1/2 an hour, respect everyone's time and make it happen in the time designated. If you want to win friends and influence the team, if the meeting is over before the designated time, end it. Let's stop having meeting about meetings.

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