Getting the most out of meetings

Meetings have always been an important feature of workplace culture. But are meetings always the best way to get things done? The frequency of meetings is rising but the question is, is this improving productivity?

Getting the most out of meetings is key for any successful business. Ensuring you don’t fall into the many pitfalls associated with meetings is a key part of driving your business forward — and here we explore some common issues and how to avoid them.

How much time do you spend in meetings?

Meetings, whether virtual or in person, are a great way to connect, share ideas, and have the discussions that can drive your business and your mission forwards.

That said however, meeting culture can go wrong. Especially in large, sometimes overly bureaucratic organisations, it is common to hear people complaining that their business has “meetings about meetings”, that they are boring, and that they waste time, and distract from this mission, rather than take it forwards.

Especially within corporate culture, this can lead to employees becoming overloaded by meetings.

Meetings without purpose

Another major issue with meetings is that they take up a huge amount of time without many tangible outcomes — with some saying up to 45% of meetings don’t seem to have a purpose. Without a verifiable outcome, meetings take away from the work that a staff member could be performing — and worse, the louder voices in the room can tend to take over, leaving others feeling like they can’t speak up.

Should this be the end of meetings?

While it isn’t always necessary to hold a meeting about every single issue, project or event, the answer to these issues isn’t simply to stop meetings altogether. For both hybrid and in-person employees, meetings can be vital for an entrepreneur when it comes to building relationships and a strong company culture.

Even in 2022, studies suggest that 76% still prefer face to face meetings. Meetings should not be used to simply fill time, or as a way to take a break from your workday — if something can be written in a quick message or email, this might be a more straightforward way of answering easy questions, reducing the number of meetings you hold overall.

Meetings with mission

When you reduce the overall amount of meetings you hold, you always automatically have to decide what does and does not require a meeting. Each meeting should have an agenda and a purpose in mind, with actionable objectives that can be taken away from the session. Try to keep meetings from going on for hours by sticking to your agenda, and not allowing certain voices to take over. After a meeting is complete, a follow-up email with each person’s goals helps to solidify how this meeting fits into the scope of your mission and vision. This will help employees to understand why meetings matter, rather than considering them a boring chore.

With some simple steps, you can create better meetings — and fewer of them — which can really support your wider work and lead to important connections and conversations.

The key thing to remember with meetings, as with anything else you do in business, is to remain focused on the mission.

I hope you found this article useful. If you did, please head to my website for more, or join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Philip Keezer

I’m Philip J. Keezer, president and founder of management consulting firm Grindstone Capital. Dedicated to hard work, learning, positivity and accountability.