Since posting 6 Tips to Holding Effective Meetings in July of 2011, it has consistently remained one of my more popular posts. I have also seen opposing points of view that business meetings are a complete waste of time.
I strongly disagree. But if a business didn’t follow my 6 tips in running a better business meeting, then I would agree; ineffective team meetings are a waste of time!
Here is why business meetings are still important:
1) Best communication method – With all the wonderful technology for communicating, a face to face meeting still is the fastest and best way to communicate. The meeting time should be respected and used for the most important issues.
2) It reduces personality clash and problem avoidance risks – Two co-workers can discuss an issue outside a meeting and try and resolve it. If it becomes emotional or disrespectful, no solution is obtained. Using a formal meeting process, creates a potentially more respectful and facilitated space to discuss important issues. Without the ability to address tough issues respectfully, they just become recurring problems that frustrate everybody.
3) Formal accountability to action can be determined – By defining the meeting objective of acknowledging an important issue, discussing the alternatives and reaching a consensus resolution. When a clear action assigned to specific people by specific dates it formally documented, the probability it gets done is high.
A final thought to consider:
Business teams are often divided into ‘managers’ and ‘makers’. Makers are the team members that are actually doing the work the managers manage. Makers have certain time of the work day where they want uninterrupted time to focus on making. This is often the morning. Managers work in shorter focused periods on more issues and therefore can fit meetings in at most times in the day.
If managers are asking makers to come to meetings that are right in the middle of their best ‘making’ time, they will be reluctant to participate. It is important to recognize this reluctance is simply a desire on the part of the makers to be more productive. It is often seen as a bad attitude on the part of the maker.
The bottom line is to be respectful of when the makers do their best ‘making’ and schedule your meetings with them outside of these time when they have their bursts of productivity.