We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a meeting, and it seems to be dragging on forever. You check your watch and realize that you’ve only been there for 15 minutes, but it feels like an eternity.
You start to wonder: do we really need so many meetings?
It’s a valid question. After all, meetings can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating. They often seem to accomplish very little, and they can interrupt our workdays and prevent us from getting our actual work done. According to a study by The Harvard Business Review, the average manager spends 23 hours in meetings every week. That’s a lot of time! And if those meetings aren’t productive, it’s even worse. So, what is the problem with meetings?
Let’s take a look at some of the issues:
1. Meetings are often scheduled without a clear purpose.
2. They can be dominated by one or two people, leaving others feeling disengaged.
3. They can drag on for too long, without any real decisions being made.
4. They can be held for the sake of ‘keeping everyone in the loop’, even though most of the information could have been communicated via email or another medium.
So why do we continue to have so many meetings?
The answer is complicated. In some cases, meetings are essential. In other cases, they might be helpful but not strictly necessary, in other cases, they might be completely superfluous and a waste of time. It all depends on the specific situation. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the pros and cons of having regular meetings. We’ll explore when meetings are helpful and when they might be doing more harm than good.
Do we need fewer meetings?
In today's corporate culture, it seems like there are endless meetings. From weekly team check-ins to all-day strategy sessions, it can feel like we're spending more time in meetings than getting work done.
There are a few different schools of thought on this issue. Some people believe that we need fewer meetings, and that they should be shorter and more focused. Others believe that we need more meetings, but that they should be more productive and have a clear purpose.
The most important thing is to make sure that every meeting has a clear purpose and outcome where everyone who is invited is contributing to this outcome.
There are several alternatives to meetings that can be just as effective, if not more so. One-on-one conversations, for example, can be a great way to get things done without having to convene a meeting. Similarly, a number of tools that allow for asynchronous communication, such as Slack can be used to share information and ideas without the need for a meeting.
How can we make sure that everyone is on the same page for an effective meeting?
The first thing to consider, is to have a clear and concise agenda for each meeting. This way, everyone knows what is supposed to be accomplished during the meeting and can prepare accordingly. Secondly, it is important to take minutes during each meeting. This way, everyone has a record of what was discussed and what decisions were made. Thirdly, meetings should be a time for discussion and debate. Encourage everyone to participate in the discussion and share their ideas. This will help to make sure that all voices are heard and that the meeting is productive. Lastly, follow up after each meeting with an email or memo summarizing what was discussed and what the next steps are. By doing these things, you can help ensure that everyone is aligned and can hold each other accountable on the action plan.
How can we make sure that everyone has a chance to speak?
It’s important that everyone has a chance to have their say. Otherwise, you run the risk of people feeling left out or ignored. Here are a few tips to make sure that everyone has a chance to contribute:
- Encourage people to speak up by asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
- Go around the room and ask each person for their input on the issue at hand.
- Make sure that people feel comfortable speaking up by creating an environment where it is safe to do so.
There is no doubt that many employees have been complaining of too many meetings.
Here are some questions to consider before holding your next meeting:
👉 Have I thought about another effective way to collaborate?
👉 Do I need some strategic thinking time first?
👉 Do I need to decide, solve a problem, provide feedback?
👉 Does it have to happen right away (real time)?
👉 Does everyone have to be there?
👉 Does everyone have enough context to contribute in the meeting?
There are a few things you can do to make sure your meetings are more effective: