InEffective Meetings

Beat The Meeting Mania

InEffective MeetingsMany people love to call meetings. For any and every problem, they will call a meeting. Call as many people as possible, and then meetings become uncontrollable, hardly ever discussing the topic which was supposed to be discussed.

I have seen some people even boast that they went to 6 meetings “back to back”. I guess it is to show that they are so useful, so important that they have to be called for so many meetings…

And in the meeting, they talk about any topic that comes to their mind, go off in tangents, and the real topic which was to be solved is often forgotten. Instead the meeting goes on and on, with no clear end, and no clear direction. Then subsequent meetings are called.

But the question remains is that if you keep attending countless meetings after meetings, and discuss topics which are not relevant,  when will the real work be done? All you do is attend meetings. Then near the end of the day, you wonder where the time went, and how you are supposed to get the work completed. This leads to stress, anxiety,  pressure, and countless hours of “unproductivity”.

Attending multiple meetings and calling a meeting for every small issue have become the company culture for many organizations.

So what’s the solution to this meeting madness? How to survive this meeting culture?

4 Steps To Beat The Meeting Mania

I have come up with a simple method that has saved countless hours of meetings for me and my team mates over the years. I’d like to share them with you:

  1. Don’t Call A Group Meeting: Think about what is required and who would be essential for solving the problem at hand. Only call the required people. If the problem could be solved by just 2-3 people, don’t call for the entire group or the entire departmental meeting.  Only invite the people who should be in the meeting. No more!
  2. Start on Time & End on Time: Make sure you start the meeting on time. Many people usually arrive late. And many times we keep waiting for the missing people, wasting everyone else’s time. Make it a point to start on time.
  3. Have a Clear Meeting Agenda: Make a simple list of topics that will be discussed. Distribute them before hand, so people can prepare for it before hand, cutting short the meeting time. Focus only on the meeting agenda. If other topics crop up, simply write them down on another piece of paper, to be discussed/processed at a later time.
  4. Create Action Items With Due Dates: Before the meeting ends, make sure you write down what the next actions are, who is going to be doing them, and the deadline for each item. Then distribute the meeting minutes with the key notes of the discussion, actions to be taken, names of the people responsible for doing it, with the due dates clearly.

This has worked wonders for me, and I have saved countless “dead meeting hours” into productive time for me and my teams.

What about you?

Willing to try it out? Here’s the Challenge…

CHALLENGE #6

  1. Don’t call a Departmental meeting unless you really have to. Only call the people required. Resist the urge to call everyone.
  2. Create a agenda. Stick to the agenda in the meeting. Don’t go into other areas. Instead focus on the thing that the meeting was called for.
  3. Start on Time, and End on Time. Keep an eye on the clock and remember to wind up before the time’s up.
  4. Publish a clear list of action items, with the responsible people named, and the due date published.
  5. Send out this list with the meeting minutes within minutes of the meeting ending.

Try it out. Do it. And post your findings, your results on the PMCHAMP Facebook group.

Cheers,
Vinai Prakash

P.S: Did you pick a good management book to read yet?

And what was your experience with Single Tasking… We’d love to hear about your experiences.

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  • Subodh Kumar

    Really it works. Allready points 2 to 4 I am practicing.
    Now I will take care point 1 (Don’t Call A Group Meeting) also.

    Specially, we enforce point 4 (Create Action Items With Due Dates:)
    As per our deprtmental policy MOM will be dispatched within 24 hours of the metting.
    Each MOM must cotaint the action/status with date.

    • Subodh, I am glad that you are already following the best practices of meeting management and time management. This is great!

      Yes, implementing point 1 already reduces the meeting mania!

      Do share your thoughts on the PMCHAMP facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/pmchamp/) so that it can reach a wider community of like minded professionals like you.
      Cheers – Vinai Prakash