In recent years, there has been something of a backlash against team meetings. Do a quick Google search and you will find plenty of articles arguing that meetings are nothing but wasted time—and that they should be altogether abolished!
Of course, this is an overstatement. You need to have a company culture in which communication is paramount, and sometimes a scheduled meeting or a team huddle is simply the best way to accomplish that.
But even when a meeting is necessary, it can still prove overly long, inefficient, and unproductive. And that’s a source of frustration for everyone: Team leaders hate to lose that productive time, but employees are just as annoyed to have their precious hours put to ill use!
How to Know if Your Meetings are Wasteful
All of this begs the question: How do you know if your meetings are simply wastes of time? Some warning signs:
- You cannot easily articulate why you’re having a meeting. Simply having a meeting is not the same thing as getting something done. What are you trying to accomplish in your team meeting? What are the goals? What are the action steps that you hope will result? If you struggle to answer these questions, then the meeting is likely not needed.
- You do not provide employees with an agenda in advance. When does the meeting begin, and what are the issues that will be addressed? Tell your employees in advance. If you don’t, you run the risk of latecomers, or of employees who are already checked out and unengaged before the meeting even begins.
- Your meetings are really just lectures. If you’re just talking at people, rambling on without engagement, then your employees will just be snoozing—and your meeting will absolutely be a waste of time. Instead, foster collaboration. Ask for feedback and input. Ask questions. Move toward action steps. Make meetings really engaging.
- Your meetings are too long. If your employees are spending five hours of each week sitting in meetings, well, don’t be surprised when they’re burned out and frustrated. Make your meetings as succinct and as impactful as possible. Really prepare for them to make sure they’re quick and, again, focused on action steps, not just rambling discussion.
Are your meetings wastes of time—or are they truly engaging your team, fostering communication, and moving everyone forward? It’s something to think about before your next meeting!
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.
He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.