But whether you like it or not, they’re also an absolute necessity.
So how do we get better at meetings? They don’t all have to be mind numbing rituals, I assure you. To make sure we’re getting the most from our meetings we need to be confident that they’re actually providing value to us. We’ve come up with a few questions for you to ask yourself before deciding whether your next meeting is actually worthwhile.
Do you want to go?
This is the first question you should ask yourself when you are getting ready to pull the trigger on scheduling a meeting. Of course “want” is a relative term, but you should want to attend because the information in the meeting will be helpful in some capacity, it will somehow contribute to forward momentum. If you feel the meeting might be less productive than just sending a few check-in emails, or a couple quick in-person chats, take those routes instead.
Will the meeting provide value?
This is also relative, but consider whether this meeting is providing value to all the participants involved. Few of us love meetings, but if we know that they’ll be of value to us, then we’re less reluctant to attend. You should respect the time of all participants as meetings often take away from our time actually working on projects versus simply discussing them.
Is the meeting going to facilitate important exchanges?
Another parameter of a worthwhile meeting is whether it will facilitate important exchanges. Meetings are not the place for an information dump, but are best used as a forum for discussing implications of new data. Meetings are for discussions and decision making, not for absorbing of new material. This can be done on the participants own time and on their own schedule. By using meetings to debate the merits of different solutions to a current problem or to come to a consensus on a tricky issue engages participants and makes them feel like the time was well spent.
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