The world spin around human interactions. They are used to confront each other, to make decisions and take actions to achieve what is needed. Meetings are a very important part of these relationships. In the working world, they are probably one of the most important components of a company’s life. And, just as likely, one of the least desired by any person within an organization, even though the tentative to change their name in recent years has tried to make them more attractive.
Another meeting? Ohhh noooo !!! We continue to waste time on these things, instead of doing what is needed.
On the meetings (or brainstorming) I had already written in this article. Instead, this article is the beginning of a series to understand how to recover efficiency during meetings, deepening into different stages and considerations.
By the way, do you know when meetings were born?
When meetings were born?
Meetings are important and have ancestral origins: they are assemblies of people with a purpose, especially called to make formal decisions. Even the primitives people, albeit unaware, when they decided to hunt the mammoth for eating purposes, met together to plan the action to accomplish the purpose.
For millions of years, we have brought them to the present day by filling offices of more or less formal meetings and dragging millions of people to attend more and more in these moments of sharing.
So why when we propose one sending the invitation, by considering that we have evolved and get to nowadays, we tend to have an unconscious reaction as if they had beaten us to blood?
Because there are a lot of things that can go wrong, and if they can then they will do even worst (cited Murphy’s Law) when organizing a meeting – and we are not very aware of.
Things to change to make an effective meeting
Look at the data below:
The agenda of a meeting
The first thing to say for these ruthless numbers is that many people attend because they just have a meeting scheduled. There is it, so I will attend, but they do not know the purpose of the meeting or the expected results, so they get to the meeting unprepared. To correct this element, it is necessary to define well the objectives and consequently the topics to be dealt with.
Get to the end …
The second thing to correct is the way of managing a meeting: it is not a drag in a hall to reach a consensus and then proceed on a road. The responsibility in making decisions is up to the meeting leader, who needs elements to decide and shared reasoning to consider all the scenarios. The group participates but does not necessarily come to a general consensus. If there is, that’s good; if it does not, it is the leader who must pull the strings and make a decision.
Manage the rhythm
The third element is the management of time: a meeting rarely ends in time. Often, because they do not start on time; just as frequently, because one dwells on sterile, useless debates and off-target positions; but the worst evil, is the lack of a moderator, a leader, who takes the order and establishes the times. To do this, we also need to define specific roles for the participants.
Oh! I like so much to listen to me …
That is the fourth harmful element, the so-called dominators. People who usually involve 20% of the attendees, speaking for 80-90% of the time relegating others to express simple consents to what has been said. The reasons may be different and even fair in trying to persuade on an idea, but other attendees will almost certainly feel insecure and fearful in expressing their opinion. Above all, if the dominant part is of the leader.
Don’t take people into account
To do the pair with the previous element, in this fifth topic we say that without a proper engagement and involvement, people are likely to take a nap or dedicate themselves to something else: how many times do they handle smartphones or PCs during a meeting? So, the leader of the meeting must be good at managing interactions, giving up the talk. To listen and consider people, guiding them towards the goal (defined and shared in advance!) of the meeting. A bit like a talk show where success is left to the good anchorman.
For now, I have already said a lot about why meetings do not lead to the desired effect and are often misunderstood by the participants, also causing a huge amount of money spent by Companies. The agenda, the language to be used, the types of meetings and people, the duration and the organization to be adopted, are some of the next articles that I will soon publish on the topic. Are you interested in? Then follow me!
Do you have opinions to share, or do you want to deepen a theme? Write to me at: contactme [at] enricocarollo [dot] com
(cover photo: Samuel Zeller on Unsplash)