I hear no shortage of complaints about meetings. Sometimes I hear them from people who just mindlessly move from one meeting to another requiring them to move their individual job tasks to after hours and on weekends. Other times I listen to the edicts from senior leaders who just have a hate on for meetings, without really knowing or caring what is going on behind the doors. Meetings = unproductive.
Meetings get a bad wrap; sometimes deservedly and sometimes not. The complexity of our world means that more and more work needs to be done collaboratively these days. It’s crazy to think that we should do without meetings but it’s about time we started being more deliberate and when we need to meet, for how long, and to do what.
I’m grateful to all of you who have asked me to help you cope with meeting overload. You are the inspiration for my second Right Words to Say video.
In this video I’ll challenge you to get the information you need to determine whether or not participating in a meeting is a good use of your time. For goodness sake, if you’re one of the people who’s Outlook automatically accepts any meeting for which there is a hole in your calendar—save yourself and change the settings!
If you determine that you really need to be at a meeting, I’ll challenge you to do your part to be ready so you don’t just sit there like a bump on a log. Adding your full value in a meeting means preparation and anticipation.
As always with the Right Words to Say series, I have provided an accompanying worksheet to help you think things through. This worksheet will help you: 1) make the Go/No-Go decision; 2) prepare for how you’ll participate; and 3) find alternatives to attending in person. Obviously, you don’t need to fill in a sheet like this every time you go to a meeting. I do recommend filling it out a few times just to get into the habit of thinking this way. It will help you think more critically about your attendance and participation. After a while, you’ll go through this thought process automatically.
A reminder: The Right Words to Say series is for you, so send in your questions and I’ll shoot a video and create a worksheet to help you tackle the challenges you are facing on your team.