Meetings that Save Time Instead of Wasting It
We’ve all sat in a meeting that felt like a waste of time.
Maybe the purpose wasn’t clear. Perhaps the right people weren’t in the room. It could be that the technology platform for the virtual conversation was glitchy. Or the person chairing the session wasn’t skilled at doing so. Or the same people were saying the same things in the same room as they always say….
Life’s too short for unproductive meetings. We all have way too much to do.
Meetings are also expensive. Consider the actual cost of convening all of those people. In fact, Bain & Company will do it for you! They’ve developed a meeting cost calculator. ReadyTalk has captured the true cost of meetings to organizations in this infographic.
Are meetings worth it?
They are worth it for two reasons or when two conditions are met:
- When collaboration is necessary to achieve a goal.
The thing is, that is increasingly true all of the time. Growing specialization, interdependence and complexity mean that we need others’ perspectives. Collaboration fills in our blind spots. It also builds buy-in. As Joel Brockner explores in The Process Matters, people are more inclined to accept a decision they had a role in making, even if that decision negatively affects them. Increased involvement also leads to an increased willingness to take responsibility for following through on decisions made.
- When meetings are well-led.
It’s all-too-possible to have a meeting that is clearly needed still go off the rails because of poor facilitation. Getting the right people in the room does not guarantee they will collaborate well once there. Chairing meetings is a skill, and the people at the top of the organizational food chain who often run sessions are not automatically the ones most proficient at doing so. Skillful facilitation usually results in highly focused, productive collaboration where engagement is high, and time is well spent.
Meetings don’t have to be long. In fact, Donna McGeorge argues that 25 minutes is often enough. But they do have to have a clear purpose and strong process.
Join us at the Atlantic Communications Master Class Series, for a session with Dr. Rebecca Sutherns on Running Effective Meetings When the Stakes are High. Learn practical skills and tips for ensuring your time around the meeting table is worth the investment.