Do you ever find yourself in meetings thinking:
What a waste of my time...
What are we even talking about?
Why am I here?
I think the last hour has turned me into a zombie....
A few months ago, I did a presentation on having better meetings so I thought I would share a couple of points from the meeting with you.
These are not my own revolutionary ideas, just the things I find incredibly useful from the decades of meetings I have had to host, chair or just sit through.
First things first, let’s put this into context.
Unproductive meetings have been found to waste $37 billion per year in US alone.
In addition to this studies have shown that not only 9-10 people daydream in meetings.
Let’s make meetings better!
Be cognizant of the meetings you have: Take control
Imagine if I came into your office and stole your chair?
How would that feel?
You were working away, and I just took it. There was some vague purpose, but all you know is you are now left without a chair, creating a difficult, unproductive and challenging rest of your day.
How can you do your work without going out to acquire yourself a stand up desk, or find another place to work?
Now replace chair with time, that is essentially what some meetings are, someone steals your time. Creating a less productive environment, and a challenging rest of your day, trying to fit everything in.
Time thieves are everywhere, take control of your own chair and your own time!
Use your meetings for good: POWER Meetings
We’ve all endured meetings that seemingly have no purpose – where the outcomes and actions from the meeting are unclear, vague and serve to simply generate more meetings to pontificate on tasks that need to be done.
POWER is an acronym for the following:
Purpose (why is the meeting necessary?)
Outcomes (what do we want to achieve, where’s the value in the meeting?)
What’s in it for them (why should others (especially stakeholders) attend the meeting?)
Engagement (how are you going to ensure that participants are engaged?)
Roles and responsibilities (who does what?)
POWER might take a little effort – but weigh this against adding your meeting to the wasted hours a month spent in terrible meetings.
Planning meetings upfront and understanding:
- what needs to be achieved, and
- how to accomplish outcomes may see you reducing the number of meetings you need to schedule.
What are you doing between meetings? Third Space
This concept is based on the book The Third Space: Using lifes little transitions to find balance and happiness by Adam Fraser.
When you find yourself in back to back meetings all day, constantly rushing from one to another. Compartmentalise your transition time like this.
Meeting: Most meetings are 30 minutes to an hour long, but our attention spans are actually only 10-12 minutes. 73% of people are working on other things in the meetings rather than paying attention. Keep your meetings short!
This is that space between you ending one Zoom meeting and connecting to the next one. Are you using this time effectively? Are you checking emails and taking a quick pee? Or are you processing what happened in the last meeting, and preparing yourself for the next one? Is there even enough time for that? Let’s take this from outside the back to back meeting situation.
Think about when you have a shitty day at work, then you go home from work in a grumpy mood, and accidently end up yelling at your kids. This is when you haven’t had time to transition from one space to another. You are taking your work anger to your home, even though it is not serving you to be in that frame of mind. Use the car ride to think process and put a full stop on what has happened in your work day, and prep for your next interaction – arriving home and seeing the family.
Hopefully that will give you a few ideas to have purposeful and meaningful meetings, and take control of the time you have.
At Blue Mercury, we love to support people to have effective communication. Whether at work or at home. If you are interested in making the most of your collaboration time, Check out some details here or contact us for more information!