I have just returned from a meeting about having a meeting. How many of you spend an inordinate amount of time during your working day in meetings ?
The first problem is: Why are you there? Often the meeting request is put in your diary (no thanks to technology) and you arrive on time – in my case to find the key people are late, or even more annoying, the meeting has been ‘rescheduled’.
The next problem that seems to be universal is the purpose of the meeting. What do you hope to achieve from it? This is a special problem if key decision- makers are absent.
Timing is something that seems to escape the consciousness of Chairs and participants. You will be like me and have come across people whose main function is to be present, not offer much, go off on tangents and then start a whole new conversation just as you thought it was time to finish. Short of screaming, there is not a lot you can do….
Or is there?
Our top tips for successfully surviving meetings are:
- Ask yourself “Do I need to be there”? Is there another form of getting the information that would be more efficient, such as a Skype meeting. Can others email me the outcome?
- As the Chair, always let the participants know what the purpose is and what roles and responsibilities they have.
- Nominate a timer and have the conclusion time written up where everyone can see it.
- What outcomes do you want from the meeting? These should be on the agenda which should be sent well in advance.
- Send out the minutes/action points as soon as possible following the meeting
In today’s busy world, a meeting can be either a useful face-to-face experience, or it can be yet another time waster that just leads to frustration. There are some other useful tips at a website that goes by the memorable name of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur