When you wonder at the end of the week, “Where did the time go?”, you may not be alone. According to a Microsoft survey, people spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings and 69% feel meetings aren’t productive.
Some key issues identified:
- Poor meeting mechanics – lack of meeting agenda or objectives, poor chairmanship
- Key players missing, late-comers, uninterested attendees
- Data Overload or Drought – Too many ideas bouncing around, no materials provided prior, lack of preparation
- Unclear Roles and Responsibilities – Who’s supposed to be doing what?
- Problem Avoidance – Not addressing goals, reports or behavior issues that limit a team’s effectiveness
- Meeting Conclusion – “What did we decide to do?”, incomplete minutes, minutes not distributed, or no action items resulting from the meeting
- Tele-commuting and virtual teams further reduce the likelihood of key participants attending. Then add distractions from laptops, iPhones, emails and SMS.
Meetings need to have a sense of urgency not a mood of obligation. People charged with organizing these meetings can be frustrated, overwhelmed and resigned to poor results.
How can Stop the Presses Help?
Many of these issues need to be dealt with by management, leading by example, an open trusting culture, and policy and processes tuned to make it easier to do it the right way rather than taking meeting short-cuts.
A meeting facilitator can inspire confidence, listen to leaders/managers and help by taking a look from the outside and then setting the stage for lasting change.
Laurie Daschuk, BA is a meeting facilitator with www.stopthepresses.ca