Revising the Modern Meeting

Meetings can sometimes be such a waste of time. When I hear the word “meeting”, what I really hear is, “Let’s waste time while not focusing on the topic about which we’re meeting, while simultaneously getting more and more off topic — ultimately leading to accomplishing nothing.”

Brutal? Maybe. Too harsh? Possibly. The truth? 1000%.

“Is it ‘cuz I’m a ‘Millennial’?”

Being labeled a millennial is sort of nice sometimes. The name itself connotes we’re tech savvy, we’re sometimes written-off for inclusion in older modes of communication or technology, and alludes to how some of us may prefer to communicate via different mediums. For instance, e-mail.

Some may automatically roll their eyes when they read the term “e-mail”, but it exists for a reason. If I had a nickel for every time I went into a meeting and left thinking, “This could have been solved via e-mail”, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now. I’d be counting my stacks and stacks of nickels.

In no way am I suggesting to cater to millennials. However, if you want to create a cohesive unit within your organization, you’re going to need to cater to others preferences in order to be more successful. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander — and being more successful means wasting less time in meeting rooms, so folks can keep plugging away.

Tip: Meet less // E-Mail more. If a meeting could take less than 20 minutes, write an e-mail.

Are You Saying Meetings are Pointless?

No I am not saying meetings are pointless. In fact, meetings can be hugely beneficial, especially when thinking about context, and subjects that may call for more depth. What I am saying is, if you want to have a meeting — have a point for meeting. Have that point — and stick to it!

Tip: Put a board on the meeting room door. Include the subject at hand, the time started — and the time the meeting will end. Set a timer so everyone knows when the meeting needs to end — and stick to it!

But What If Not Everything Is Covered?

Simple answer — schedule another meeting. Preferably at a different date. In fact, by doing this, folks could come back for that second meeting with a whole new approach or idea for a project. Studies have shown that after stepping away from a problem, your subconscious continues to work on the original problem — ultimately leading to the famed “A Ha!” moment.

Tip: Schedule shorter meetings more frequently. There is NEVER a need for a three-hour meeting, no matter the subject.

Look — what do I know, right? I’ve only been in the workforce for five-plus years. Am I the final say on how meetings should be approached? I would hope not. I’m just speaking for myself — and the countless others out there who may feel the same way. Shorter, more frequent meetings mixed with e-mails will benefit a company so much more than time-and-money-wasting three hour meetings.

What do you think? Am I off-base? Sound off below — I’d love to hear your approach to meetings, what you prefer, and how you stay productive in the workplace.

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