My first “corporate” job out of college was working in the Underwriting department of an insurance company. This is where I attended my very first meeting. I talked about this years ago, but it’s great to recap again:
The staff looks at each other; looks at him.
“What are we talking about?”
More stares. This is where things got interesting.
“You all wanted this expletive meeting! YOU called for it. If you don’t know what the expletive you need to talk about, and you can’t put together a simple expletive list of things you need to talk about, why the expletive am I here? I am not coming to another expletive meeting unless there is a expletive agenda!!!!”
My first meeting lasted 45 seconds. At the time I was shocked, but now I look back on it with much fondness for the people in my department. (Great team, great VP.)
Since that first meeting, I have probably attended several thousand meetings. And honestly, I’d guess only about 10% of those really had any value.
Meetings are time wasters. Fillers in the day where no one is productive. For some reason, though, businesses feel the need to have them.
I have been in 90 minute meetings that started at 9am, went until 1pm - and then started another meeting. And you know what was accomplished? Nothing. Those meetings became a day of gripes, complaints, and discussions that didn’t involve 28 of the 30 people attending.
NO MORE MEETINGS. PLEASE.
*Okay, here’s where the asterisk comes in. What I really should be saying is “No more GROUP meetings.” I actually love one-on-one meetings, because they’re productive. It involves the two people that need to be involved. There’s no idle chatter. There’s nothing extraneous being discussed.
Group meetings typically have no focus. Most of the time a meeting was set up years ago, recurring on a system calendar, and so, each week, people show up and stare at each other and maybe one or two have a discussion while the rest sit there looking at the clock, wondering why they’re sitting there in the first place.
Stop unnecessary meetings now!
Take these 4 quick tips to heart the next time you schedule a meeting:
- Only invite the people that actually need to be involved.
- If you just need to ask a question of someone, ask it. Don’t schedule a meeting for it.
- Have an agenda with bullet points for discussion.
- Limit the meeting time to no more than 60 minutes. Shorter is better. It forces you to only talk about what’s important.