In many organizations or team, meetings are regarded as terrible sources of man-hour losses while in some others, nothing starts or ends without a meeting. To the ones regarding them as waste of time, they are right and to the ones taking meetings as very important part of activities, they are also right about it.
The rightness of the two groups depend on the groups themselves on the following:
How Well the Meetings are Planned:
Most meetings reach a point of seemingly dead-end where everyone seemed to have lost ideas including the team leader. Such meeting show lack of adequate planning. It is necessary that every step of the meeting is planned with the meeting ending at the right time and moment (moment when dead-end is approaching).
For critical meetings, it is always necessary that pre meetings are held. Certain issues that can lead to unending arguments should be thrashed out with the critical parties in the team before the start of the meeting. Critical parties are the ones described in the article Why Great Ideas Meet Challenges and How to Overcome.
How the meetings are steered
The head/manager must not be the one to direct the meeting. Though not always the case, many employees or team members do always feel threatened or do cower before their more experienced leader; some see such as mark of respect. The effect of this is that such persons fail to speak up their minds in meetings. They all might feel relaxed if one of them is the one conducting the meeting (after all a leader is at his best when people do not that he exists but yet feel his presence). When directing a meeting, there are certain things to do and to avoid:
- Set ground rules and be even with everyone on the rules
- Facilitate the meeting and quell personality insults, accusations and counter accusations (except if that is the main aim of the meeting) before they go hot.
- Avoid going solo in the meeting. When in a meeting and the team leader or the head, find himself/herself making all or almost all the suggestions, and speaking the most time, there is well possibility of something fishy there. All might be well if your team is still in training process but if with experts/professionals, there is real problem, most likely, with your leadership or conducting style
How the Outcomes Are implemented
“Let us just go, talk and come back to our usual way; the ones we agreed before, what happened to them?” A particular experience I had on this issue was when I was designated to write the minutes of a monthly meeting. The same minutes was requested from me by the conductors two days before the next meeting. The question is: what happened or will happen to the suggestions and improvement methods stated in the last meeting? Answer: They all ended in the reading of the minutes in the next meeting!
Thus, depending on how well you plan, organize and handle the outcomes of every meetings, that will decide if they are waste or important.
What do you think about the article? Do you have any other ideas on why meetings can be a waste? Put them in the comment section!