I worked in a chain of command years ago that required weekly meetings. We started every Monday morning this way. We sometimes spent all morning in these meetings. While the concept was well-intentioned, I would have few takeaways each week.
We wasted a lot of time and time is too valuable to waste. If your organization is like mine was, we were continually being asked to do more with less.
It was because of this experience that I focused on how I would efficiently utilize meetings when I was in charge.
The first thing I would consider is why I needed a meeting. As much as I appreciate face-to-face communication, email was quicker, more efficient, and most of the time, just made more sense for most of the information I needed to share. Because of this, when I did hold meetings, it held more importance.
At times however, it was the delivery that was important. I wrote about this recently in a blog called “conduit of information.” The same advice I offered there goes for meetings: You can influence whether priorities and initiatives are accepted and implemented during in person meetings and sometimes the importance of the information can get “lost” if communicated during a phone call or in an email.
When COVID happened, in-person meetings shifted entirely. As a result of COVID restrictions, face-to-face no longer necessarily meant “in the same room.” Now, video calls or conference calls were all that many of us had available for meetings.
In 2023, we appear to be moving away from COVID protocols and meeting colleagues in person is back. Even if your company has continued remote-work options, we still need to rethink each meeting and how important meetings are to achieve our goals.
Consider these suggestions for more productive meetings:
It is important to control the meeting. If things go offtrack, get them back on. If people are conducting business that does not involve the meeting, have them continue elsewhere. Take control of the meetings and make them productive. You must control the meeting.
And finally, decide who needs to be in the meeting. This sounds simple, but I could not count the number of times people were required to attend meetings that had no reason to be there. In the previously mentioned weekly meetings, everyone had to speak. Whether or not you had anything to say did not matter. Forcing someone to speak, especially when they had nothing to contribute, is a waste of time.
If you are expected to manage people and resources, be good at it. Be intentional in all that you do. Your time is your responsibility. As a manager, your ability to make time meaningful for your team is your responsibility, too. In 2023, try to be deliberate, be thoughtful about why and how you will conduct meetings.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training