Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Everyone is meeting

Don't you? Some weeks only leave one morning hour for the early bird and one very late hour to do some hands-down work. Meeting is important, but most meetings are not. Many do not have a clear purpose like presentation, mutual information, decision preparation, decision making. So we meet and meet and chit and chat and hurry from one to the next – but who is going to do the work?

Who then does the work?
Sometimes I just have to sit down and work, write, read, structure, whatever, and no meeting will help out of that, just the opposite.When do people prepare meetings, when do the follow up? If everyone is expecting someone else doing the work, then it just moves around without actually being done.

Some companies and people just have a bad meeting-gitis, I think.

Important meetings
And then again, some meetings are very important and helpful, and according to my line of business, sometimes there are quite some of them. The meetings I could - and actually do - spare are the meetings to keep a huge number of people up to date who are in a project. The communication flow and the process owners are not always clear, and then everyone tries to get information from anyone else. . . in meetings, killing the last of the information flow :-)

Meeting or not?
So I try to limit meetings and decide on this first:

  1. What needs to be done, information, discussion or decision?
  2. Who needs to be in this action?
  3. Is there a timeframe for decision, info, discussion?
  4. What is best for the personalities participating?
  5. What helps this action best, meeting, email, several 1 on 1’s?

Go to a meeting or not?
And for my attendance I just ask myself, if I need to
  • meet a person (relationship)
  • be seen (politics)
  • ask something
  • explain a position
or if I would be fine just going through the minutes (which I regularly do, they are a great tool for many reasons).

Here’s a nice book on meetings for the ones among you speaking some German: ‘Sitzungen erfolgreich managen, Meetings als Kommunikationsmittel und Management-Instrument richtig nutzen’, Herman Blom, Beltz 1999.

(BTW, I did some multi-party meeting moderation some years ago, and it really helps to know about how meetings work and the various roles people can take.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bookmark and Share