How effective are your business meetings?

This post was prompted by a company selling a webinar about meetings; more specifically, how to have effective meetings.

It reminded me of one of a series of training videos that were used a generation ago that often used humour to put the main points across. This particular one was “Meetings Bl****y Meetings!” and reading the webinar promotional blurb this morning made me think that maybe not much has changed if managers and bosses are still making the same mistakes (I guess they’re a different set of people now).

There are statistics from surveys quoting the number of hours per week spent in meetings, percentages on how many are ineffective and even a claim that the level of meeting effectiveness is the single most powerful factor in job satisfaction (?)!

It seems to provide reasonable content, though a bit basic but, in my opinion it shoots itself in the foot in two ways:

  1. Though it goes on at length about people resenting their time being wasted in ineffective meetings, it assumes there is a valid purpose to each of them in the first place and doesn’t once say we should ask why we’re planning a meeting – is it necessary?
  2. Neither does it tackle the question of who should attend and why (maybe that’s because it goes on to suggest you get everyone in your office – whether they set-up or attend meetings – to join in because as many as you like can attend for the one price…)

To me these two issues are key before any meeting is arranged. The skills we bring to making our meetings effective should be addressed, yes, but only after we’ve satisfactorily answered these two questions.

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