Meetings – What Are They Good For

Oh, meetings, I despise
‘Cause it means the waste of precious time

Meetings means tears to thousands of employees
When they go off to sleep and lose their lives

I said, meetings, huh good god, y’all

What are they good for?  Absolutely nothin’.  (Sing to War, by Edwin Starr)


Our meetings necessary evil?

I believe that they are necessary and that you can take the evil out and make them good.

The first thing to think about before having a meeting is what you want to accomplish.  If it requires a meeting or would strongly benefit from a meeting, then the meeting is going to inherently be a good thing, if it is well run.  There can be a thousand good reasons for having a meeting, so just make sure it is one of those.

Make sure you have a goal and that you make sure to meet that goal during your meeting.  Your goals can can range from simple discussion and sharing of ideas all of the way to making a conclusive decision or completing a task.  Everyone attending the meeting should know what the goal of the meeting is before the meeting even starts.  That will enable you to all share it from the beginning and work towards the same end point.

When you hold your meeting you need to be flexible.  As I have alluded to in earlier posts about teamwork, you may have a group that is very focused on a topic that moves forward in a very linear fashion.  You might have a group that likes to make a lot of side comments and laugh a lot.  You might even have a group that seems like they are being a bit belligerent to each other.  They key is to know your group and run your meeting accordingly.  As long as everyone is OK with that, then it is your job to work with that dynamic.  Just keep your hand on the tiller so that you keep going in the general direction of the goal.

That seems like pretty vague advice, but it works.  If you try to force your model of a meeting onto a group, it is not going to work as well as if you can flexibly provide the structure, the outline, and set the goal that is relevant to the team.  Then watch to see how your team works within that framework, nudging here and there as needed, and allow them the flexibility they need to accomplish their task.

I get it, it complicates your life, but you become known as the person whose meetings people want to attend.


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