Are You Suffering from Meetingitis?
One of the most common complaints I hear from individuals in my coaching practice is, “How am I supposed to get my job done when all I do is spend 90% of my day in meetings?” Let’s face it, the higher up you go within an organization the more meetings you are expected to attend. But this issue is becoming a chronic problem for individuals who are still even at the individual contributor level. Part of the reason for this is, with the flattening of organizations the interdependency between departments has intensified. Therefore, the need to keep a much larger group of people in the loop is necessary.
Below are the top 10 ways to help you with Meetingitis:
1. Do you need a meeting in the first place? Seems simple but in some cultures the first reaction to everything is let’s get everyone together, when in fact perhaps talking to 2-3 key individuals at the initial stages is really more time efficient and productive.
2. What type of meeting is it? If you do schedule a meeting let people know the purpose of it. Is it a daily check in, tactical, strategic or brainstorming? Clarifying the type of meeting and including an agenda will go a long way to having a more productive meeting.
3. Who should be invited to the meeting? Only the key people who are subject matter experts or key decision makers who:
-Provide expertise or approval
-Will be directly affected by the meetings outcome
-Supply necessary information to take action
-Carry out the decision made in the meeting
-Offer input throughout the meeting
4. What do I do with all of these meeting invites I receive? Many people blindly accept all meeting invites without question. There should be some sort of agenda so you can assess whether this is a good use of your time or if someone else is more appropriate to attend. If there is no agenda, politely ask the meeting organizer what their expectation is for the meeting and from you. Then you will be in a better position to determine if you should accept the invite or not.
5. What do I do if people start forwarding the meeting invite to others? Put in the subject line: Please do not forward this invite. This will ensure that the key individuals will only be in attendance.
6. How many team members need to attend? Send only one team member to attend and it will be their responsibility to be the scribe to take notes from the meeting and ensure the notes are sent to whomever on the team needs to be looped in.
7. Who owns the meeting? You do. If you called the meeting, you own the meeting. That means you own starting and ending on time and keeping everyone on topic
8. What about people using laptops or being on their cell phones? Don’t allow it, unless they are taking notes on their laptop. All devices do is serve as a distraction to everyone else in the room.
9. How do I end the meeting? Do not leave the meeting without determining who owns what by when. If you don’t do that, there is no closure and people will leaving feeling they just wasted and hour of their life.
10. How do I ensure everyone is on the same page? Make it a standard practice to send out a recap of what transpired in the meeting to anyone that needs to be looped in.
I can promise you, that if you start doing these tips you will buy back precious time in your day and facilitate much more productive meetings as well.