Let’s all waste our time having meetings!

Is it just me–or do you agree that meetings are major productivity killers?
I hate sitting through loooong meetings with a passion, you know the type–a boring presentation, followed by a loooooong discussion where everyone tries to project an air of authority of expertise, intermittently mixed with people standing up answering phone calls, getting coffee, acting like a self-important bitch/bastard while people with twenty million things to do wait for the meeting to commence.

If you are in the industry where I am, you should know that effing meetings make the world go round. Client meetings, company internals, team download, briefing, concept presentation, tele-conferences and all the other shit that can zap the time away of your precious eight-hour work day. And as much as you try to excuse yourself from the discussion, your boss will definitely call you and have you contribute to the discussion at hand.

Do not get me wrong–I am not anti-meeting. Who doesn’t want to be updated and informed on the latest achievements in your account, product or even the company itself? But loooong meetings has a way of killing productivity. Imagine the things you can accomplish if you are not trapped in your chair for two hours. I learned this the hard way when I had two simultaneous meetings in two days. I opened my email and almost fainted after seeing the Inbox window: 120 unread emails! My inbox was a sea of messages done in URGENT RED.

In an article posted at www.salesworks.com, “Killing sales productivity, one bad meeting at a time”, it was highlighted how a meeting turns bad (and losses sales and productivity for the company) in the process:

“Consider this – everybody spends at least some amount of time preparing for a meeting. Then they sit in the meeting and then they spend time reacting to the meeting after it’s over. It isn’t too crazy to suggest that a 1-hour meeting can cost a person a total of 3 hours.

Multiply that across your whole team and you can see how expensive a non-productive meeting can be. When sales people are in meetings, they aren’t selling. So why not make the most of the time we’re in the meeting?”

The same article also posted 10 tips in bringing productivity to meetings:

1. Have an Agenda – Seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? Have a plan and stick to it. Stay focused on defined and clearly-communicated objectives. If you get into a rat hole, pop out of it and table the issue for a more appropriate time and audience.
2. Handle the Most Important Items First – and have to skip something, skip the low-value topics. Keep ‘House Keeping’ as the last topic and give it 5 minutes.

3. Start On Time, End On Time – This allows people to plan properly and it doesn’t kill everybody’s schedule. Make it a habit; everybody will appreciate it.
4. Ensure Every Meeting Brings Real Value – Time is valuable, so make the most of it. Have solid reasons for meeting. When we get our teams together in one room, we have an opportunity to effectively communicate, set priorities, take action, share, learn and team-build.
5. Conduct at least Some Skills Development (training, coaching…) in Every Meeting – Why not take the opportunity to sharpen the blade? This can be as simple as a 10-minute coaching session.
6. Bring in Speakers – They can even be people from your own company. Use it as an opportunity to build synergy between the groups in the company.

7. No Excuses – Everybody be there and be prepared (and turn your phones off; be present).
8. Spend 1/3 of Your Meeting Looking Back, and 2/3 Looking Forward – What has transpired since our last meeting? What are we looking ahead to now?
9. Take Minutes – Confirm what happened from one meeting to the next. Did things pan out as we thought they would? Were commitments kept? What changed? Are we still on track?
10. Be Action-Oriented – Have you ever left a meeting with a whole bunch of new meetings now scheduled? Make your meetings effective and action-oriented; get stuff done and move on.

I highlighted number 3 cos people do not come on time for meetings in my company. It’s a never-ending battle of waiting and waiting until someone starts herding people into the meeting room.

I know people can be so busy but then again, aren’t we all??! And the sooner we start this meeting–the sooner we get to end it.

2 Replies to “Let’s all waste our time having meetings!”

    1. Hey, thanks for linking my blog to your post. I hate looong meetings with a passion — still do. I wrote that when I was doing PR and now that I am on the client side of things, I hated meetings more 🙂

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