We have all been there – meetings from hell. We know the signs – fighting drowsiness, fidgeting, yawning, reading phone messages, doodling, and of course, the facepalm. Many meetings are undeniably miserable. When meetings are run poorly, they are a waste of time and an energy drainer. Meetings shouldn’t be that way.
Draining energy from employees and wasting everyone’s time is expensive. If eight people at an average hourly rate of $24 are in a weekly two-hour meeting that provides little to no benefit, the simple cost is $19,968 per year. Add in the time to re-energize and be productive back at one’s desk and the annual cost rises to … who knows. That is a calculation for only eight people for one meeting per week. Consider how many meetings occur at your office. The wasted expense in human time and productivity becomes huge!
Here are meeting guides to follow.
PURPOSE – There should be a necessary and specific purpose for the meeting that cannot be handled efficiently via e-mail or other communications.
ATTENDEES – Once you have a valid reason to stop productivity and bring people to a meeting, invite only those whose presence is necessary to solve or contribute to the purpose.
AGENDA – Prepare an agenda that includes why, what, when, where, who, purpose, and expected outcome. Determine the time required. Send the agenda with the meeting invite to the attendees. If the agenda is not sent in plenty of time, people cannot arrive prepared.
PREPARED – Lack of preparation is the same as being late; it indicates a lack of respect and consideration for your co-workers, job, managers, and the company. All participants must be prepared.
BE EARLY – Meetings must start on time and end on time. Everyone should be there a few minutes early to get situated. Arriving late to a meeting is rude. Tardiness indicates you have no respect or consideration for other people or their time.
FOCUSED – Stick to the agenda. Discussion should be relevant to the purpose of the meeting. Side topics should be tabled for another time. Stay out of the weeds. Tending to the weeds should have been handled by attendees prior to the meeting.
FINISH – Close the meeting on time. If more time is needed, schedule another date. Again, dragging a meeting past the appointed time indicates a lack of respect and consideration for other people and their time.
Why do we tolerate it? If the boss is the one leading the meeting from hell, we often feel we can’t do anything about it. Wrong! No matter what your title is, you have a responsibility to your co-workers and the company to be productive and manage your time well. We all need a little more time in our days! Find a respectful and kind way to share the facts with the offending meeting leader. Offer to help. Although we don’t play Monopoly in business meetings, consider this your “get out of hell free” card.
Teri Haynes | Business Interactions, LLC | Improving human interactions in business