Effective meetings can be achieved and can make you a more successful leader. All you really have to avoid are these monster myths that can actually ruin the effectivity of your meetings (and may even tarnish credibility or quality; something meetings should avoid).
Myths that can hinder effective meetings
- Executives belong in meetings. Executives should be very selective on which meetings to attend even though concerns in the business may demand their presence. The top management is responsible for vision, strategy, plans, and communication, meaning that the wise executives should be spending their time thinking, learning, planning, and communicating. Failure to hold efficient and effective meetings can possible waste the time of such valuable employees.
What you can do: ask questions when you’re invited. Evaluate and see if your presence is really needed. Some questions you can ask are “what are your goals for the meeting?”, “how can I contribute to meeting those objectives?”, and “how can I prepare for the meeting?” Always be after how you can contribute to effective meetings if you decide to attend.
- Holding a large meeting is impressive. Meetings are actually really expensive to conduct. Holding meetings properly means that your meetings should be as small as possible.
What you can do: Carefully select only those who you know can contribute and make effective meetings. The larger the meeting, the less meaningful it can become.
- Structure inhibits spontaneity. This only becomes true if you’re looking to obtain random results over a length of time. While, like winning the lottery, spectacular results can come to being. By conducting structured activities, you can achieve fantastic results in no time. Such structure helps us make methodical progress towards results; whereas if you look for random outcome, you may as well be attending a party instead of working and holding effective meetings.
What you can do: Keep a structured system of activities to keep your meetings in control, productive, and progressive.
- People are too busy to prepare agendas. Preparing an agenda saves time and money and gives more assurance to produce effective meetings. If there is time to repeat a task, fix a problem, or make an apology at work, then there should also be time to exert effort in avoiding such problems.
What you can do: Ask someone to make your agenda for you if you’re too busy to prepare one. After doing so, send your agenda to the participants so you can all prepare and produce effective meetings.
- Minutes aren’t necessary… unless you’re in a meeting where people waste time producing nothing. Minutes are needed to track points of action, decisions, and information that came to being from these meetings and are definitely worth documenting. If you’re in a meeting and you don’t think documenting is necessary, re-think and decide if your meeting is important at all.
What you can do: Record the documented ideas, agreements, and points of action that were decided on during the meeting. Afterwards, convert these notes into minutes that everyone can understand clearly.
- Meetings should take a long time. This is sometimes true. Take note, though, that most effective meetings can actually be conducted in less than an hour. People are lulled into lethargy when meetings are long; even more so when meetings are casual and unstructured. You can generally conclude that people can pay attention for 30 to 60 minutes and lose track after as they take mental holidays to ponder on other things that concern them.
What you can do: Plan your time and resources according to the value of your results. Effective meetings are designed to earn a profit. In addition, it’s a good idea to set short breaks every 50 minutes to regenerate their attention.
- An effective meeting is a low priority. If you have more than two employees, you will, by default, have to converge and make decisions, reach agreements, and develop solutions as a group. Effective meetings are extremely important and can even be the bloodline of running a business. This is the avenue where you can combine the wisdom of your staff to make a new innovation, grow sales, increase productivity, strategize, and basically succeed for the company.
What you can do: Set your objective on making your business a success every time you plan to hold effective meetings.