Why Your Meetings Suck And What To Do About It

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Do you hate meetings?  Of course you do!  Here are some stats from Harvard Business Review that tell you exactly how much your meetings suck:

  • Senior leaders spend up to 23 hours/week in meetings
  • 90% admit to daydreaming in meetings
  • 73% admit to using meetings to do other work
  • 79% of meeting leaders said that the meetings they initiated were extremely productive
  • 56% said the same about the meetings they attended!

Most of us find at least some of our meetings to be boring, draining, and a waste of our time.

So assess your last meeting:

Did attendees seem distracted?

If so, try starting with the why.  Why is this meeting happening?  What are we here to decide?  What will be accomplished by the time we’re done?

Who did most of the talking?

If the answer is the meeting leader, that’s a problem.  The meeting leader is there to engage everyone else, to keep things on track, and to facilitate productive discussion.  The leader is not there to pontificate and drone on and on.

If another person dominates the meetings, just intervene and ask the opinion of someone who’s sitting quietly.  Say, “Jon, what are you not saying?”  Or “Emily, I’m really interested in your opinion on this topic.”  Then be quiet and listen.  Don’t let anyone dominate conversation.

How many rabbit trails were there?

If there were quite a few, get clear and focused on what you’re in the meeting to accomplish.  Stay on track.  Appoint a time keeper so you end precisely on time (or early.)  I’ve never yet had a group complain because I ended a meeting early.

Were most opinions expressed, fairly similar?

If so, stir up some controversy.  Play devil’s advocate.  Invite someone to speak who disagrees.  Thank those with contrary opinions of chiming in.  Make it safe for people to express their real thoughts.  False harmony leads to poor decisions.  You know that not everyone agrees; make sure they’re all speaking their minds.

Do attendees complain about having to attend them?

If so, first ask if they need to be there at all.  If they do, keep them there for the portion of the meeting that concerns them, and then let them go.  They’ll bound away like a gazelle sprung from a trap; full of joy and  enthusiasm!

Here’s another idea:  Try reducing your meeting time by 10%.  Was the meeting negatively impacted?  If not, try 20%.  You’ll be a hero, trust me!

Meetings are the most effective way that we can turn productive energy into solid waste.  Be careful that yours are productive.

“If you give yourself 30 days to clean your home, it will take 30 days.  But if you give yourself 3 hours, it will take 3 hours.  The same applies to your goals, ambitions, and plans.”

-Elon Musk

“And your meetings.”

-Trevor Throness

pic hero trevor

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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