Your Meetings Stink - Here's How You Can Fix It
There’s a reason no one likes attending your meetings! They’re boring, repetitive, and often times irrelevant. Most companies hold more meetings than they actually should, and the meetings they do hold often times aren’t as useful as they could be. For many people, meetings are simply a waste of time and don’t end up accomplishing much of anything, let alone their intended purpose. Quite frankly, your meetings stink.
Rethinking your meetings
There are definitely times when meetings are necessary for brainstorming, informing, and more. So how can you make the necessary meetings really count? If you want people to attend your meetings, you need to rethink your meetings! And if you want attendees to stay engaged instead of zoning out or constantly checking their phones, you’ll need some extra help.
Stop mindlessly planning your meetings. Here are six questions you should ask yourself before sending invites to your next meeting. They will help ensure that your meeting is efficient and effective.
1. Why do we need to meet?
The very first step to planning any meeting should be deciding on its main purpose. For some meetings, you may have many reasons you think you should meet, while for others, you may only be able to think of one. If identifying a purpose is too difficult, you’re not ready to meet. Either take some time until you can come up with a clear purpose or forgo a meeting altogether.
Even if you have a purpose, maybe a meeting is not the most effective way of accomplishing your purpose. Think about if there is some way other than having a meeting that you can accomplish the same thing. Is there a faster, more effective way to meet your goal—such as sending an email? If so, do that instead.
2. What is the outcome?
In other words, what do you want to achieve as a result of the meeting? This is different from a purpose because it is an actual change that needs to take place as a result of the meeting. Because of your meeting, how will you or your employees’ ways of thinking change? What will you or your employees end up doing differently? What will they say differently?
If you can’t find something tangible that will change because of the meeting, it’s better to not have one. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your attendees’ time and your own.
3. Is there an alternative format?
Sometimes the information you want to convey in a meeting is necessary but choosing a meeting as a means of conveying that information will be ineffective. With the power of technology, you have so many possible platforms. Think about the tools that are available to you:
- social media
- the polling feature on Outlook
- doodle poll
- And much more!
And, it will probably be much better at holding their attention than sitting in a hot, stuffy room for an hour! Get creative. Maybe you could create a flyer about policy changes and hang it up in the bathroom stalls. There’s no one size fits all solution for conveying information to the company. You know your employees better than anyone. Match the platform for your message with the audience.
4. Who needs to attend the meeting?
Next, you should think about the appropriate audience for the information you need to share. Don’t be lazy and send invites to the entire company—that’s the fastest way to make enemies with a large group of people. A lot of people you might consider inviting won’t care and won’t want to be there.
This is your meeting. You’re the subject matter expert, and you need to be the one to make the decision. Determine who the stakeholders involved with your purpose are and base your decision around that. Sometimes it might be hard to admit that not very many need to be present at your meeting. It’s easy for ego to get in the way. But it’s better to have a small meeting with essential staff than a big one where most people won’t benefit from the agenda.
5. What do the attendees need to know?
Now you need to think about the most important information that must be conveyed in your meeting. You don’t want to bore everyone with extra information that they don’t need. People have short attention spans. There may also be additional tasks you want meeting attendees to accomplish beforehand. Should they review financials? Create a presentation? Compile a report? Make sure they know this ahead of time, so they can prepare accordingly.
6. What expectations do I have?
Lastly, think about how you are expecting people to have prepared for the meeting and how they should participate during the meeting. Make sure you communicate these expectations clearly. Set your attendees up for success and do everything you can to achieve your meeting objectives. This will include attaching your meeting agenda to your meeting invitation.
You now have all the tools you need to create a successful meeting invitation! The next time you think it’s time to hold a meeting, stop and ask yourself these questions. Your employees will thank you!