We’ve all been in long, pointless meetings. At my former job, these were the norm. Our supervisors insisted on meeting twice a week even when the issues could’ve been resolved by a single email or there weren’t even any issues! It was a literal waste of everyone’s time.
I recently discussed four reasons why people hate long meetings. Most employees aren’t lazy people who try to get out of meetings. Rather, they want to do their jobs and the meetings can detract from their productivity.
For all managers, team leaders, bosses, or other administrators, here are four tips to manage your meetings (and end them on time).
Only Meet When There’s a Need
My twice weekly meetings at my teaching job were largely pointless. At the very least, they could’ve been condensed to about half the time. I had real needs like planning and grading. Oh, and when the meetings went over (sometimes by 30-40 minutes), I had a life at home.
A functional organization with effective communication and collaboration may not need regular meetings. If you schedule a meeting, it should be because the meeting is actually needed. If it’s just busy work, then skip it. People will be more productive doing their actual jobs than wasting time in meetings.
Only Invite Those Who Are Necessary
Not everyone needs to be in every meeting. But, sometimes in the name of team unity (or team punishment), everyone attends. However, if a meeting topic is only relevant to certain people, then only bring them in. I wish I had a dollar for every time a problem was addressed in a meeting of twenty that applied to two people. The more people you involve, the more you complicate matters.
Be a leader and address individuals and small groups about their shortcomings. Save the larger meetings for issues that actually apply to everyone. Don’t waste people’s time.
Solicit Employee Feedback
You may think you have a great idea to discuss or present in a meeting. Everyone else may think it’s totally irrelevant to their job performance. Maybe they’re wrong. Or, it’s possible you could be wrong. It’s always good to solicit employee feedback about meeting topics. Make sure the topics you’re addressing are a real need and that your purpose for the meeting will actually help make people’s jobs more productive or at least more meaningful.
Also, you might want to see if employees actually get something from meetings. They might consider it totally irrelevant to their jobs. Find out.
Keep To the Schedule
I hate hearing people talk for the sake of talking. I don’t care who is trying to impress the boss or which person feels her ideas absolutely need to be heard. I personally love any facilitator who keeps us to the schedule and gets us out on time (or early).
While there are occasions when a meeting needs to go over time, good planning means those occasions should be rare. An effective leader will keep everyone on task, lay down the ground rules, respectfully correct excessive talkers, and move the meeting along. Also, if the conversation is finished, end the meeting early. Again, busy work should have ended in school (and never even started there).
So, do your employees a favor, manage those meetings effectively and end them on time. Your company will be more productive and you’ll be a more effective and popular boss!