Avoid Pointless Meetings

Do you have too many meetings? Are your meetings too long? If you think this is the case, perhaps the culprit isn’t the frequency or length, but the subject of your meetings. There are simple ways to tell if your meetings are impactful or pointless.

If something important is being discussed, there is likely some conflict occurring. During good meetings, decisions are made and people are held accountable. If you have a really good meeting, then everyone leaves feeling uncomfortable because there is so much more to be done, and everyone has a stake in it!

There are seven key factors that when managed correctly, result in great meetings and top results for organizations.

1. Conflict: Conflict is a necessary part of good meetings. There should be good healthy conflict in every meeting, and people should feel pressure. A lack of conflict is an indication that the group is not talking about anything that requires any real discussion, is failing to emphasize the hard-to-achieve goals and key performance indicators, is not holding people accountable, or is not focusing on the real issues in the company.

2. Purpose: Every meeting should have a purpose, and you should define that purpose before you enter the room. By the end of the meeting you should be able to answer the question, “Did we achieve our purpose?”  If the answer is ‘no’ on a regular basis, you need to challenge your team to identify whether it is a failure in preparation or some other symptom causing the organization to be ineffective. Do not allow yourselves to get off the hook.

3. Time: Making sure that you schedule your meeting on a day and at a time when you will get the team’s undivided attention is very important. You also want to make sure that you schedule plenty of time to support your agenda. If you have covered all that you need to, it is okay to end a meeting early. If you did not cover all that you needed to, you need to extend your meeting or reschedule the remaining items for a later time.

4. Preparation: All participants should know what is going to be covered in the meeting and what needs to be prepared in advance. This will allow for a more productive meeting.

5. Continuity: Whenever possible, it is recommended that your monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings be done off-site. This will reduce and/or eliminate interruptions as much as possible.

6. Responsibility: Make sure that the responsibility stays in the room, and you do not play the blame game. Your meetings need to be about solutions.

7. Accountability: It is critical to agree on who will be the one person responsible for each item, and to make sure that person is held accountable. Review key developments, assignments, and deadlines regularly until an assignment is completed.

Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc, based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to executive leadership. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through AGI, please contact Howard at 305.722.7213 or email him.