Are Your Meetings Always Productive?
Another meeting? Especially right now in the year of virtual meetings we’ve heard a lot about meeting fatigue. Meetings often get a bad reputation. We’ve all sat through meetings that could have been an email. Or meetings that get off track. Or meetings that are hard to stay awake in. It’s easy to have a negative attitude about meetings and to even go as far as to stop having meetings because they don’t seem to be productive.
From your business’s point of view, meetings are expensive. You’re paying X number of employees to attend the meeting and most of the time revenue is not being generated during that time (though meetings can, and should, create sales opportunities). It’s a huge expense if the meeting isn’t productive.
When done right, meetings are an investment as they are vital tools in business communication and team building. Meetings are where ideas grow and get challenged. It’s where your team shares experiences and knowledge. It’s where conversations occur organically. And in today’s world of social distancing, meetings are where your team connects.
The biggest issue with meetings are not the meetings themselves, it’s your culture. If your meetings feel unproductive, boring, or you and your team dread going to them, it’s time to make changes. Meetings show how your employees show up. They show how relationships work in your office. They are a direct reflection of your business culture.
The good news is you get to design your meetings to be exactly what you want them to be! You get to decide if they are boring or unproductive. Or, you get to challenge the culture of your business and make meetings engaging. You get to inspire your team to show up prepared so that meetings don’t drag along.
If you feel like your meetings are not in alignment with the culture of your business, consider these insights:
- Ban Distractions - Cell phones, emails, smart watches, and other distractions are often overlooked in meetings. It’s just a quick distraction, right? It doesn’t matter who has the distraction, it’s a distraction for everyone in the meeting. And more so, it sends a message that it’s okay to tune out what is happening in the meeting. Every meeting should be distraction free. You’ll be surprised to see how more engaged everyone is when you’re not fighting for their attention.
- Stay Consistent - If your business has a habit of canceling meetings it sends a message that the meeting isn’t that important. When meetings are not viewed as important it’s easy to not participate in them. It’s easy to let them get off topic. Set a meeting time and frequency that your business can realistically hold consistently. Then, talk to your team about the importance of the meeting and ensure that they are held on time, every time.
- Set Expectations - What do you want the culture of your meetings to be? Do you want your team to participate more often? What information should they bring to the table? Do you want meetings to be interactive or more of a lecture? If current business meetings don’t fit your culture, it’s time to reset the tone which starts with you identifying the return on your business's investment of time and people in meetings. Meetings should be designed to provide your business with specific results. Once you’ve identified the results your business needs, you can focus on your vision for the meeting experience: what your team experiences, what they sound like in meetings, how the team participates, the overall tone and even expectations for each member of the team. This may seem like common sense, but ask yourself, when is the last time your team discussed what meetings in your business should be like?
The good news is that meetings are within your control. If your business struggles with them it’s time to talk to us about flipping them UpSide Down!