We tend to have a love/hate relationship with meetings.
As employees, colleagues, and supervisors, we can't help ourselves when it comes to scheduling copious amounts of meetings. But once we're all in a room together, we hate having our time wasted, and our minds eventually wander (or we start catching up on our e-mail).
So what are we getting so wrong about meetings?
Elizabeth Grace Saunders, CEO of Real Life E-Time Coaching and Training and writer for the Harvard Business Review invests her time into improving the time management of others. She thinks that we overload on meetings because they're so easy to say yes to and as a by-product our busy calendars make us feel important.
"I think that [meetings are] like candy," Saunders tells Money Talking host Charlie Herman. "They're easy to accept, easy to go to, and so they're the path of least resistance."
But large quantities of candy isn't good for anyone. By being more selective and making our meetings effective, we can easily break this meeting-addiction.
Saunders spells out a simple how-to guide for having better meetings:
Conducting a meeting:
Have a clear agenda. Ask yourself, "What do you want to accomplish in this meeting?" The answer to that question will help make your meeting concise and productive.
Key players only. Then ask yourself, "Who needs to be at this meeting to accomplish our objective?" Invite only the necessary players to ensure the right people are at the table and to avoid robbing extraneous people of their time.
From preparation to insight. Send out the agenda and any work that needs to be done prior to the meeting. This allows people to process information so their creative juices flow and the meeting can be full of ideas and/or solutions.
- Attending a meeting:
Don't always say yes. By agreeing to attend someone else's meeting, you are surrendering your time and prioritizing someone else's agenda. So when a meeting invite arrives, ask yourself, "Is this a priority for me?" If not, then decline. If it is, but you can send someone in your place, then do that.
Prepare. The meeting won't be boring and your mind won't wander if you are actively engaged in the meeting. So read up on the goals, agenda, or materials in advance.
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