The number one complaint about meetings is that they are a waste of time. People say that they sit through them with one eye on the clock just waiting to get back to more important activities.
Meetings don’t have to be meaningless. If you are leading the meeting, it is your responsibility to help the group create a strong sense of purpose. They need to envision where you are trying to take them and care about reaching that destination.
You accomplish this by imagining what you will create during the meeting. It might be a new idea, a better understanding about a difficult problem, a tough decision, or a renewed sense of energy in the group.
Once you figured out the “What,” you are ready to take the next step. You must now address the “Why” question.
Suppose you imagine the purpose of the meeting is to create an efficient project plan. Why do you want to do this? If you don’t know, the meeting will likely falter. You need to determine why this meeting goal is important. Perhaps it is because…
- The team is on an extremely tight deadline.
- Resources are running thin, and the team cannot afford to waste any of its energy.
It doesn’t matter what the answer is, as long as it makes sense to you and the rest of the meeting participants.
So what happens when someone else is leading the meeting, and he or she has not developed a meaningful purpose? Simple, voice your concern and encourage the group to work together to create a clear and compelling reason for the meeting.
When it comes to creating purpose for your meetings, sooner is better than later, and later is always better than never. If you follow these strategies, you’ll never waste your time in a meeting again.
Image credit: Reportergimmi