There are too many meetings that should never have happened in the first place. You know it. I know it. And we are all more than a little sick of having to sit through these meetings. They waste our time and bore us to tears.
So what should you do if you’re thinking about calling a meeting and have doubts about whether or not you should? Let me ease your concern. Just because there are a lot of meetings that should never have occurred doesn’t mean that there aren’t some that should have been held.
Your goal is to only call one when there’s a good reason for doing so. I can think of at least five good reasons to call a meeting. Would be interested in learning about others if you can think of some.
1. Tough problem
You’ve got a problem you can’t solve on your own and don’t know of any one person who you can ask to solve it for you. You believe the solution will require the creative brainpower of a group.
You need a decision that affects a group, and you believe it should be made by the group rather than imposed upon them.
3. A plan
You need to put together a plan. You recognize the importance of involving others in order to build a better plan and generate more buy-in.
4. Complex or emotionally-charged news
You’ve got news to share that will likely cause an emotional reaction and generate lots of questions. You believe that it will be best to provide the information to everyone at the same time, and let all hear the answers to the questions that others ask.
5. Project launch
You are launching a new initiative and want to bring people together for the purpose of setting the direction and establishing guidelines.
Think interactivity and value
See a theme? All these reasons have an element of two-way interaction. Great meetings are a collaborative activity, and you should call one only if collaboration is necessary.
There is one more thing that’s a little harder to identify, but you should try. Assuming you have a reason, and your reason requires collaboration; ask yourself if it’s worth it.
The value equation is the one we apply in all sorts of situations. It fits here as well.
Value = Benefits – Costs
Use your best estimates and consider not calling the meeting unless the result is positive.
We can tweak meetings to make them better, but the greatest impact can be realized by knowing when and when not to call a meeting in the first place.