Is Your Calendar Flooded With Bad Meetings?
7 Tips on How to Stop the Flooding
Since the MeetingSift headquarters in Honolulu are currently undergoing flooding from intense tropical rains, those of us in the meeting business couldn’t help but recognize the operative word, flooding, and how it applies to what most of us have experienced—just too many bad meetings.
As you watch this brief video, visualize that the rush of water passing by is actually your available work hours each week, hours that need to be productive. Are they?
Let’s take a look at what some of the heavy hitters have to say about the overabundance (pick an a.k.a.—deluge, stream, profusion, excess; you get the picture) of bad meetings. Keep in mind that meeting attendees commonly report that 50% of their time spent in meetings is seen as a waste of time. Think about it. Meeting flooding occurs at an alarming and costly rate in most companies. If this waste were mitigated, you might be in five meetings a week instead of ten.
Intuit? Ring a bell? Perhaps you do your own taxes, or electronically handle the economics in your home or office. They, too, feel the effects of too many meetings, as noted in their article, “Attending Too Many Meetings at Work? Here’s the Cure” by Alison Green. They have a number of suggestions. One: Critically evaluate the meetings you are invited to (sound familiar?). Two: Check with your boss ahead of time if you want to make a case for bowing out of the meeting. Three: Be vocal. Help ensure that every meeting has an agenda and slated times per agenda item. Four: Suggest email or other means if you think a meeting is truly unnecessary.
A New York Times article, “When You’ve Had One Meeting Too Many,” tells the story with this opening line: “HAVE you started holding meetings in the office restroom?” (Tate). In not so many words, Carson Tate (the author) asks whether there is a positive ROI for the time spent in a meeting. We can extrapolate that question out to each person in attendance. If there is no ROI for you, as an attendee, see if you can decline the meeting request. If you cannot, encourage making the meeting shorter with a focus that makes each minute count. The flood of meeting time allocations on your calendar can then be brought down to a manageable flow.
Wine at your meetings? Most of you likely brightened at the thought. The Huffington Post published an article, by Charlie Kim: “Do You Have Too Many Meetings?” Kim suggested that there are two types of dysfunctional meetings. One is the Red Wine Discussion where the meeting is little more than a discussion, complete with red wine, that may have been of interest but had little positive effect. Two is the lecture—a monologue, really—that could have been avoided by disseminating Cliff Notes to everyone, thereby avoiding the meeting altogether. On the bright side, Kim mentioned a positive meeting type that is designed to improve the abilities of each meeting participant. In these small meetings, team members bring their recent personal or professional challenges to a senior leader who helps the members understand how to best handle the challenges. These are personal development meetings that, overall, have positive effects on meeting effectiveness and efficiency.
“Meeting Jail,” or “Stop Having So Many Meetings,” suggests Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine. Meetings are sometimes a substitute for poor information-sharing processes and technology, or undeveloped decision-making. The following are some tips: Improve communication paths so the number of meetings can be reduced; improve decision-making processes; delegate more tasks and decisions, coaching as necessary; create a results-driven mindset culture; ask your team for their thoughts on making the meetings more efficient and effective.
A National Public Radio (NPR) story by Yuki Noguchi, entitled “And So We Meet Again: Why The Workday Is So Filled With Meetings,” tells us the average American office worker devotes more than nine hours weekly in preparation and attendance of project update meetings. Noguchi notes that poorly run meetings are a form of human red tape, slowing the efficient process of arriving at necessary and appropriate decisions. Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? In essence, if a manager sets aside two hours for a task—a meeting in this case—or four meetings to accomplish a goal, then the meeting will take two hours, possibly four times. That is, we fill up the allotted space. Not good. See if the goals can be accomplished in one hour, or one meeting.
Forbes Magazine published an apropos article, written by Mattan Griffel: “Too Many Meetings? There is a Simple Solution For That.” We can all use simple solutions. Griffel tells us meetings are necessary. We know this from myriad studies showing how collaboration and productivity improve with well-run meetings, the “necessary evil” he calls them (meetings). Necessary, yes. Evil, no, if planned and run properly. He tells us that the mere presence of a meeting is disruptive to a day’s schedule, to the groove you can get into with a large block of unhindered time. This is his suggestion: Meeting Wednesdays. Yes, that’s it. He only meets on Wednesdays. Period. Coffee and brainstorming meeting on Tuesday? Never. Now he’s got four days each week that potentially attain maximum efficiency. And, you know those meetings on Wednesday—they tend to run tighter and more efficiently because they have to fit the day, fit around each other.
MeetingSift uses technology to intelligently speed up the brainstorming, ranking, polling, evaluating, Q&A, and, ultimately, decision-making processes, quickly accomplishing your meeting goals. This translates to most every meeting being brought to its desired end-point within the one meeting without requiring follow-up meetings, and they are adjourned in a fraction of the time. In other words, significantly fewer meeting hours each and every week.
MeetingSift uses technology to intelligently speed up brainstorming, ranking, polling, evaluating, Q&A, and, ultimately, decision-making processes, quickly accomplishing your meeting goals. This translates to most every meeting being brought to its desired end-point within the one meeting without requiring follow-up meetings, and they are adjourned in a fraction of the time. In other words, significantly fewer meeting hours each and every week.
MeetingSift's easy to use collaboration platform for meetings helps you run more productive meetings, with higher engagement, better decision making, and more consistent follow up.