What Meetings Really Are…

What do you think of meetings?

No, I want your honest opinion.

Do you think meetings are often boring and a waste of precious time?

Most meetings are, you know.

Especially if people who meet up have no agenda and no idea what they are trying to accomplish.

I was thinking about this ‘meeting mania’ we Malaysians seem to have over a breakfast of nasi lemak and kopi panas.

People feel all important when they tell the world (or at least their office mates) that “I have a meeting this afternoon.”

Then they all huddle in a room and talk about everything but never coming to a real decision. Or worse, they don’t know why they’re there!

I’ve been to meetings which have had no ending because the meeting chairperson has no idea how to conduct a meeting. He goes on and on and never comes to a conclusion. The meeting drags on for hours which is an aggravation to everyone.

Here’s a tip if you ever end up in one of those absolutely-must-attend but terrible meetings: take charge. If you see the meeting veering off tangent, bring it back to order. Firmly tell those present what the meeting is for (that’s why you should know your own objectives for attending the meeting) and lead them back to the issue in question. Better if you can sum up and let everyone know what their tasks are and what’s needed before the next meeting is called.

Meetings are good if you know what you want out of it.

But the way I see it, if you can accomplish the same results using Skype, email or phone call, why not? Face-to-face and large group meetings should be called if decisions need to be made.

If the same decision can be reached via conference call and other channels of communication, all the better. That’s what technology is for!

Also, if you have clients who insist on meeting with you (and you know these meetings aren’t usually the most fruitful), ask yourself how you can accomplish the same results using other means?

Of course meeting clients are essential some times but not all the time.

And make sure each meeting has its objectives. If it doesn’t have any objectives, you might as well have lunch with them and talk shop for hours.

So let’s admit it: meetings, if not planned properly, are a waste of time.

But you can control these time-wasting activities if you take control. Do not let them lead you around like a puppet on a string. If you see the meeting going in 10 different directions, it is best to speak up and get everyone back on track again.

I’ve conducted 10-minute meetings which are just as effective as 3-hour meetings.

At the end of the day, we want a productive meeting where things get done.

Something truly to think about, yes?

To your (meeting) success,

Nic

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