Meetings are essential for any business. They allow you and your team to catch up on important news, keep departments aligned with each other, and generally keep the company running smoothly. However, they're also viewed with disdain. Most people think of them as pointless wastes of time - and unfortunately, they are often right. Here are five meeting killers and how you can avoid them:
1. No One is in Charge
Everyone has a role to play in a meeting, and one of the most critical functions is the leader. The meeting leader is responsible for directing the discussion and making sure the conversation stays on point. It's also one of the roles least directly assigned. Without someone taking on the mantle, the meeting will likely be a waste of time.
2. Low Energy Meeting Leaders
A meeting lead is not just responsible for directing the room; it's also responsible for its energy. Participants don't need to explode into a mosh pit spontaneously, but they need enough pep to stay engaged and active. An excellent way to kill a meeting is to have someone with low energy take the lead. Their limp approach to leading the conversation can bleed into your other employees and send the entire encounter down the drain.
Solving this is a matter of picking the right meeting leads. You want them to have a measure of charm, command of the topic, and just the right energy level. Too much energy can make them off-putting and ruin the meeting differently.
3. No One Takes Notes
Notes have a place in every meeting. They provide something for people who missed the forum to read so they can catch-up and serve as review materials for people who made it. Without someone taking notes, accountability takes a dive, and people who learn better visually instead of aurally may find the meeting challenging to parse.
4. No One with Power is Attending
Meetings aren't just a time for people to catch-up. They must result in actionable plans and decisions. Otherwise, it may as well have been an email. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of holding meetings that have no managers or leaders in attendance. As a result, information is exchanged, but nothing actionable can be done.
When writing up attendees, make sure that someone with actual power in the company is attending. Without them, nothing can be achieved.
5. No One Has Anything to Discuss
Some companies elect to hold meetings periodically, holding firm to that schedule no matter what. This results in meetings with no real plan kept for no real reason other than the fact that it was on the calendar. Predictably, this leads to a waste of everyone's time. Creating a schedule on the fly does not help much, as any schedule requires specific people to both inform and enact anything that results from the meeting.
Regular meetings are essential. However, if there is nothing on the table, cancel the meeting. This will keep the business from wasting everyone's time.
Meetings don't have to be nightmarish time-wasters. If approached correctly, they can become what they were meant to be - tools that can improve how your company runs.