Once while facilitating a team development workshop it occurred to me why we waste a lot of time in meetings.
The team I was facilitating this workshop for included the President of the company and his direct reports. They were struggling with effective meetings like so many executive teams do. While we were discussing some of their challenges it became really apparent to me that they were doing something in their meetings we all do when it comes to managing our own personal and professional time.
In fact I have blogged on this particular topic several times (see “My Personal #1 Time Management Tip – Changed My Life,” and “3 Fantastic Time Management Tips That Will Change You“). But I guess I never saw how it was so applicable to meetings.
It’s pretty simple and really easy to do! Just simply put those things most important at the top of the agenda.
What’s the first thing you normally do in the morning when getting to your desk? If your like most, it’s email. Why? Because it’s easy and makes you feel like you are starting the day off with a productive activity. However, what happens when you send a few emails out first thing in the morning? You start to get replies immediately because everyone else is starting their day off with being “productive” on email as well! Before you know it a good chunk of your most productive time of the day is spent on replying to email.
We tend to do the same thing with meetings. It’s not uncommon for the least important things to be found at the top of the agenda like roll call, informational updates, and coordination types of activities. Why not instead include those things that are most important at the top of the agenda like the problems you are trying to solve?
Anything in a meeting that doesn’t require passionate discussion should be sent via email or some other communication vehicle. Don’t waste people’s time in a meeting discussing things that
matter the least and then at the end try to rush through the things that matter most.
Pretty simple tip right? Pretty critical as well, right? So before your next meeting review the agenda and simply prioritize the most important things and place them at the top. You may even find a meeting isn’t necessary if you can’t find anything important enough to put at the top 🙂
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Here are a few more posts on meetings you might like: