Website in Danish: www.projektledelsen.dk

Are you drowning in meetings?

Avoid meetings that are long and boringWhen you are responsible for a project, you know that you will end up in lots of looong meetings. 

  • And long, boring meetings can make even the toughest person break down and cry…Just the thought of a recurring weekly status meeting can make you raise your hackles and that’s a sure sign that it’s time for things to change.

    If you’re in charge of a large project, you have the power to change things. Unfortunately, a lot of meetings are run on autopilot without any thought as to whether they make sense or not.

    Have you considered a strategy for how you can add a bit of excitement to those meetings without loosing the quality?

    Is it even necessary for the project to have that meeting?

    My guess is that most companies could shave off 30-40% of all meetings – in some places the percentage might be even higher. Just as it’s a bad habit to cc everyone and their grandmother, it’s relevant to ask these questions before a meeting:

    • Are you sure that everyone invited to the meeting actually need to be there or would it suffice to send them the minutes afterwards? There is a tendency to play it safe by inviting a lot more people than you need.
    • Is it even necessary to have the meeting or could the same result be achieved by e-mail?
    • If you plan the meeting well, can you then cut down the meeting to a minimum, so that nobody is wasting time?

    In addition, you can take a good look at how you manage your meetings. In my view, it’s OK to be a little strict in this regard, since an incredible amount of time is wasted on bad meeting culture. If 10 people at an hourly rate of 200$ have to wait for 15 minutes before the meeting starts, because half the attendees are late, the company has spent 500$ on something that didn’t create a cent of value for anybody. You don’t need a calculator to figure out what a waste of time and money that is. Consider the following:

     

    • Have short meetings with a precise agenda
    • Insist on starting the meeting on time and stick to the schedule
    • All phones should be turned off during the meeting, and no checking of e-mails either
    • Why not stand up instead of sitting down? It calls for shorter speeches and more precise content
    • Make sure the meeting is moving forward – it just about kills you when you have a feeling that a meeting is going nowhere
    • If longer meetings are necessary, make sure that there are refreshments and regular breaks. You can’t expect an enthusiastic audience for hours on end with only a single cup of coffee as fuel.
    • Make sure minutes from the meetings are kept in a forum accessible for all – it’s up to the attendees to stay updated.
    • Don’t fall into the trap of PowerPoint Poisining

I hope these ideas will be of inspiration for how you can give the meetings at your office a serious overhaul.

How do you handle meetings in your company? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and feel free to share with your network by clicking one of the buttons below.

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Lise,
    Some good stuff here! In my corporate life business meetings were just as you suggest, but in my ‘new year, new me’ life I have the pleasure of an entirely different approach to them. It’s ‘coffee and cake’ time. Prospective clients seem to like it and the only real draw back I’ve come across so far is packing on the pounds (fortunately it also helps with picking up the £!).

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for your comment. Great idea with the cake – though the extra pounds might be a problem down the road! It’s funny that it takes being your own boss to have a more informal and cosy setting for meetings. Most bigger corporations look very much to cost in the short run, whereas the extra cake might make you more money in the long run. Best regards Lise

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