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To meet or not to meet

The meeting culture within the company is something that many employees regard as a waste of time. What is the reason for this? Because not all topics discussed at a meeting are important. Because the same people are always speaking. Because there is too much repetition. Because, once again, no decision is made. Because certain participants can’t keep their smartphone in their pocket. Just to name a few reasons.

Of course, meetings can also be very useful, even necessary! Especially when they are used as intended. Communicating with each other, consulting with each other, making decisions or finishing tasks. But is it really necessary to get together for every small thing? No! Having a meeting is thé most expensive form of consultation. Just calculate how much the attendants of the meeting cost per hour, what they might have lost on travel time and whether they should be attending the meeting at all.

So, next you find some important rules when it comes to meetings:

  • Be on time! Close the door for participants who are late.

  • Create an agenda and stick to it.

  • Turn off all phones

  • Prepare yourself; Having to explain what the subject is about is a waste of time.

  • Try to stand up when having a meeting, it is a lot faster.

  • Do not schedule meetings one after the other. You will always be late for the next meeting.

Is it possible for you to ask yourself if things can be different?

  • Is my presence in this meeting really needed? Or are we so accustomed to these meetings that it has become a habit rather than getting things done and being effective?

  • Can it be done in half an hour? When you have planned a whole hour for a meeting, you will soon have a tendency to fill that hour. Just plan a shorter meeting.

  • Can I leave after discussing my points of actions? Often, not all items on an agenda are important tot you. Indicate this in advance.

And last but not least, was it worth it? Was the problem why the meeting was held solved, or has it only brought more questions and points of action? There is a “Meeting Cost App” (for iOS and Android) that lets you calculate the cost of a meeting. Might be handy to do once after a meeting? Positive or negative outcome? If the latter is the case, a good idea is to evaluate which issues should have really been discussed and which ones can be left out at the next meeting. In that way, meetings will be performed more and more efficient each time.

Good luck!

Siok-Lian Sih, PEP®worldwide the Netherlands