When each of us go to meetings these days, we rarely discuss what we’re looking for or what objective we’re trying to meet. But take any training and the first thing they’ll address after where the bathrooms are — your objectives.
According to Industry Week 30% of managers said their meetings were unproductive. That’s a high number of dissatisfied people. Especially when you consider that — on average — we spend 26 business days meeting.
Don’t waste your time or others
Your time costs the company money. It’s okay to treat it as important as well as the time of other employees. If you don’t need to be there or have questions, you should ask.
So how do you bow out of a meeting without being a jerk? It depends. For open cultures who value honesty and integrity, you can tell someone what you’re looking for. You know they’ll answer honestly and at that point you can ditch the meeting if it’s not helpful. For less open cultures, respond to the organizer and verify you’ll get what you need. Maybe a question like, “I’m hoping we’ll cover ____. Do you think you’ll have time?”
Can it be solved by an email or quick phone call?
We love meetings, but sometimes another communication tool is better. A quick phone call, email or even chat — otherwise known as Instant Message (IM) — may get you the information you need without disrupting the meeting’s agenda.
Monologue or dialogue
Do you need to ask questions? Share information yourself? Or do you need just a status update? That determines whether the meeting host can provide an update or whether you need a two-way conversation — dialogue.
Most meetings are a dialog — two-way or more engagement among attendees and host. Consider whether you need to fully collaborate and whether you have the right tools. Do you need to share your document real-time? Do you need to share your screen?
If you need to be at the meeting, give the presenter your undivided attention. If you can’t because of other deadlines or tasks, rethink whether you’re needed.
The data is in — multitasking doesn’t work; it reduces attention to the tasks being performed. CNN indicates that research shows driving while talking or listening can reduce your driving skill by 37%. In fact, the report that only 2% of the population are super multitaskers — people who are effective of doing more than one thing at once.
Need other ideas for improving meetings?
You may hate meetings, but at ReadyTalk we have a passion in making sure your meeting goes off without a hitch.