Let’s Have a Meeting About Nothing

I know this has never happened to you – participating to a meeting on nothing and even less likely, calling one yourself. This is a privilege that few mortals have.

meeting

Photo Pixabay

I am not usually against meetings, but when they take place, they should have purpose and meaning, from the beginning to the end, conclusive “results”, not just a checkbox in some excel sheet for “monthly meetings”.

I’d rather hold some one-on-one meetings where you can discuss in detail with each subordinate and understand them better than you do in a usual meeting.

The meeting where each member of team contributes to updating the rest of the members and especially inform them about those actions that concern all of them, it’s some kind of a routine and has to happen – monthly or weekly.

But that’s it! I don’t see why a manager should hold a whole bunch of meetings to discuss nothing. The higher you climb the hierarchy ladder, the greater the chances meetings will cover a good part of your life, during and after hours – this depends also on the size of the company and the different time zones.

Let’s count them again: meeting with the subordinates, meeting with your manager and peers, meeting with the manager’s boss but also with other 4 teams that manage different projects and the week is done. Well, this means that the resume should also highlight the position of Meeting Manager.

What should you do in order to hold a good meeting:

  • Ask yourself at first if that meeting is really necessary;
  • Make sure some decisions are drawn during the meeting. If necessary, invite those who have (according to the organizational chart) the decision power;
  • Make sure that all participants know why they were invited and what are they supposed to do;
  • Establish from the start the meeting objective;
  • Send the agenda/materials before the meeting, to have enough time to prepare;
  • Start and most important finish the meeting according to schedule;
  • Establish some ground administrative rules: no laptops, no mobile phones, stick to the subjects (if something else occurs, write it down to be discussed at the end if there is time left, or some other time with just some of the participants);
  • DON’T set a meeting longer than 90 minutes. If you can’t make it shorter, set also some breaks;
  • Establish from the start who writes down the meeting notes;
  • No laptops. I know I wrote this above, but it’s very important to make it a rule if you want everyone to pay attention to what’s going on there. One exception is allowed for the one making a presentation. The conclusions should be hand written, so you won’t risk getting distracted;
  • Don’t interrupt one another. It’s the most frequent cause of uselessly prolonged meetings;
  • If you cannot participate, delegate;
  • After a period mutually agreed upon, check if the meeting’s conclusions also took place. Is not an issue if there were some bad decisions, from any decision you get to learn a lot.

As manager, you also get the role (among others) to make decisions and not hold a meeting for every fart… draft occurring in the company.

“If the ship goes down, the captain does not call a meeting, the captain gives an order. And if the ship is to be saved, everyone must obey the order, must know exactly where to go and what to do, and do it without “participation” or argument.” Peter Drucker

Last, limit as much as possible the number of participants. Jeff Bezos stated that you should not hold a meeting that needs more than two pizzas in order to feed all the participants.

Good luck “meetinging”!

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  1. […] tone, one that finds a silver lining everywhere, much of the fun at work takes place during meetings. When we take ourselves very seriously, the job becomes boring, no matter how stressed or busy we […]

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