After working for less than 2 years out of college, I’ve already been in more ineffective meetings than I care to count. So here’s a couple of guidelines I’ve come up with. Keep in mind, these meetings are focused around technical issues. Technical meetings are focused on coming up with a solution and are centered around the idea of Getting Things Done. I’m sure marketing meetings require a different set of guidelines since creativity requires a blank canvas.
- Have an agenda — What is the purpose of the meeting? What does each individual want to get out of the meeting? Stick to this agenda. Don’t get side tracked. That’s what the end of meetings are for. If you didn’t walk out of a meeting with new knowledge or any actionable items, you failed.
- Don’t go to listen — If you don’t have something to contribute, don’t waste your time going. This kills your productive for the day. You’re stuck in a meeting while you could have been building the Next Big Thing. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to stay in the loop about something but that’s what lunch, instant message, e-mail, the water cooler is for.
- Don’t invite friends — Only the people who are critical to the meeting of being a success should attend. I used to want to be apart of every meeting everywhere and I felt left out if I wasn’t invited. But now, I feel lucky when I’ve left out.
- Don’t have meetings to have meetings — Don’t schedule meetings just to have a meeting. There are certain things that can just be discussed by stopping by and saying “hey you got a sec?” A 20-slide PowerPoint isn’t required for everything in life, even if you were taught differently in college.
- Have a DD – Having a designated driver is probably the most important thing. You need someone handle the check and balancing of meetings. Without a DD, there’s going to be that awkward pause some time during the meeting where no one knows what to talk about next. And then someone says “So, uhh…”
I made this list up while watching the Office so don’t listen to me. My inspiration comes from Michael Scott.
“That’s what she said.”