Friday, October 29, 2004

Meetings....Waste of Time?

When was the last time you walked out of a meeting pumped, energized, enthused about what was to come? And to add to the list, when was the last time the meeting you called stayed on topic and actually spawned an action item to bring your organization forward?

Most people walk into meetings dreading there’s going to be a meeting. And those same people walk out wondering why there was a meeting in the first place. How many meetings are scheduled just for the sake of “just in case we need to talk about…” In this day and age of filled schedules, double booked meetings, 15 hour days and no more lunch hours, as meeting take place during lunch, or are held over through lunch, stress levels are increased, effectiveness decreased and habit changes mind set to start off as “Meetings are a waste of time” rather than “Let’s see what we can accomplish, brainstorm about and collaborate on!”

I was recently joking with a client (not so funny actually) that since the staff is so overtaxed with workload, crises, and tight deadlines, the powers that be should put conveyor belts around the desk areas so that drinks (even water) a sandwich during lunch, or anything else considered sustenance could move by the offices, as they rarely get time to breathe, never mind eat. Tempers flare, staff fighting is up, blood sugar down and heaven forbid, those who smoke and have to leave the building for their smoke breaks ….well, we won’t even go there.

Since I often work with the “powers that be” I’m going to push a few buttons….blogger’s prerogative. Taking a lunch break and allowing the staff one, isn’t an option. At least one 15 minute break during each half of the day isn’t an option either and that’s not for checking emails and making phone calls. It’s for getting out of your office, meeting and talking to staff and getting the blood circulation flowing. And if at all possible, fresh air. What a concept!

If you schedule meetings, make sure there’s a need for them. And if body language is telling you nothing sunk in and you’re not going to get much in the way of action or deliverables from it, then time to change the format of the meeting. If you always do what you’ve always done….

Let’s talk about what needs to be changed…

Donna Karlin

Try this great meeting template: The Rickover Method

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