It can feel as though you’re spending more time in the meeting room than anywhere else. It isn’t just you. At any point during the day, in offices across the country, you could look up from your computer screen and wonder where two-thirds of the office even is.
A good meeting can formulate a plan, lead to key decisions and be a creative space for attendees to discuss ideas. But not every meeting is a good meeting. Here are five signs that your business is holding way too many bad meetings.
- There’s No Agenda
- Standing Room Only
- Meetings with Your Deskmates
- Blank Page
- There’s No Time to do Anything Else
1. There’s No Agenda
An agenda-less meeting is most likely a weekly or daily meeting that’s scheduled into everyone’s calendar. It’s a meeting that takes place just because it always does. There’s no real agenda in place and is more of an opportunity for a catch-up.
Try reducing the frequency of these meetings or restrict them to five-minute lightning rounds. You’ll benefit from a little more time in the calendar and will still have the opportunity to check in with members of the team to offer feedback.
Whatever the type of meeting, it’s vital you have an agenda set beforehand. If possible, send the agenda to each attendee as part of the calendar invite so they know exactly what’s expected.
It provides structure to a meeting and stops it from derailing onto other topics of discussion. Set a clear goal that you hope to achieve and you’ll find your meetings are more productive and beneficial.
If you can’t think of an agenda or even why the meeting was called in the first place, then cancel it immediately.
2. Standing Room Only
More than six people and any meeting will struggle. Too many voices can make it harder for discussions to take place and decisions to be made. Having too many attendees can also stifle conversations as team members feel pressure when speaking.
If you’re in charge of deciding who’s coming to the meeting, think long and hard about who needs to be present. You only need one person from each team within the business as they can then relay important information back to their colleagues. Inviting everyone is just a recipe for disaster.
If a meeting request has more than 10 people, it’s usually a sign that the creator isn’t exactly sure who they should be talking to about the issue. Small, short and focused meetings lead to more productive sessions.
3. Meetings With Your Deskmates
Meetings should never be your primary method of communication. If you find yourself in meetings with the people you already sit with, it’s definitely a waste of time. If a discussion can be held in the office, it doesn’t necessarily need a meeting room.
All you’re doing is frustrating the people that work with you. You’re taking time away from their busy day with a query or discussion that could’ve happened without leaving the desk.
4. Blank Page
You sit down with your laptop, or pad and pen, ready to take notes in the meeting for you to refer to later. You might even write the date in the top corner as a way of keeping track of which meeting is which when you look back.
Then, an hour and a half later, you leave the meeting to return to the desk. Looking down at your notepad, you’re greeted with nothing. 90 minutes of meeting time and you didn’t write a single thing down. This is a bad sign. It’s blank, not because you forgot to make notes, but because there was nothing worth writing.
If you’ve dedicated that much time to a meeting, there should be some key takeaway or useful knowledge that you’ve learned. If you see a growing number of blank pages after meetings, then it’s time to cut way back.
5. There’s No Time to do Anything Else
Sitting down on a Monday morning to assess the week ahead makes for grim reading for many office professionals. Usually, there’s already a huge chunk of the week’s time taken up with meetings.
With so many meetings already booked in the calendar, there isn’t a lot of time for you to carry out your normal day-to-day responsibilities. It’s a vicious cycle. You’re having so many meetings about what work to do but there’s not any time to do the actual work.
Follow these tips, hold fewer meetings and next time you look up from your screen you might actually see staff getting on with their work.
Improved Communication Leads to a More Efficient Business
Meetings are just one of the ways that businesses communicate, both internally and with clients. Phone calls, emails, messaging apps and just an old-fashioned conversation are all utilised by businesses every day. But not always in the best possible way.
It’s important you assess how well your business talks. Breakdowns in communication lead to wasted time, unhappy clients and inefficiency. If you’d like to know more about the importance of communication and how you can master it, download our free comprehensive ebook using the link below.