How to have effective meetings, if meetings are still your thing

Business Meeting Flat Illustration

Maybe you’re on-board with meetings.

Maybe you are not.

You may think I’m some sort of renegade after reading the title of this post.

But I’m not.

There are all sorts of meetings, obviously. And there are all sorts of goals for those meetings, people in those meetings, and outcomes from those meetings. Personally, I think meetings are awesome. They are:

  • A chance to collaborate
  • A chance to get all the right people together for a brief instant to make a decision
  • A chance to be social (yes, being social is important to your business)

But nowadays if you are a “forward-thinker” in the world of office politics it seems like you’re supposed to think of meetings as something more negative. And the truth is, meetings often are.

But that’s your fault.

Yes, it’s you

If the meeting sucks, look around you and figure out who at the meeting made it that way. Often the answer is:

All of you did.

And that sucks, right? A bunch of people got together to do something good (or, oftentimes simply because they had no idea what else to do about the project except to have a meeting), and then the meeting just kind of rambled around the problem. Lots of “work” got done, but none of it got you any closer to the goal.

And, often, there’s still no agreement about what the goal is.

So where’s the problem?

Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the guy sitting next to you, maybe it’s the fact that all you can think about while sitting in the meeting is all the work waiting back at your desk that you aren’t getting to.

All of these things are problems.

So what do you do?

Just end it

No, don’t be rude in the meeting. Don’t:

  • Walk out
  • Ambush the meeting
  • or, Belittle the priorities that your co-workers are invested in

Don’t do any of those things.

But…

… don’t buy into anything that you know isn’t working.

… don’t continue down paths that don’t work.

Be mindful

Think about why you are there, and what you can gain, right now, from working with these people. Don’t stomp all over the meeting but also don’t coddle the meeting so much that nobody’s goals get met.

Improve the meeting…

… using your own best skills and experience.

That’s how you have an effective meeting.