Meetings; Good, Bad, or Just a waste of time?

I spent most of last week at a conference followed by a couple of days of meetings. There wasn’t much time left to write a blog post or do other things that I needed to. Don’t get me wrong the conference was excellent and the meetings were good but they aren’t always that way. I am sure we have all participated in meetings we wish we didn’t have to.

There are lots of really good tips for how to hold a productive meeting. Check out Christopher M. Knight’s web site for a pretty comprehensive list.  Christopher suggests the meeting needs a purpose. How many of us have attended meetings that seem to be just for the sake of having a meeting? I would take this a step further and ask the question can the purpose be successfully achieved without a meeting and then act accordingly.

But what if you are not in control of that? If your organization seems to be having endless meetings without purpose then perhaps you need to follow Elaine Pofeldt’s advice and empower employees to skip the meetings. I imagine there will be some push back to that but that may open the door to some discussion that allows for better meetings.

Elaine also suggests if you must hold a meeting sticking to the allotted time is important. Part of that is scheduling the meetings appropriately in the first place. Another suggestion is to have ‘hard’ starts and stops. If the meetings you go to have a tendency to run on perhaps leaving at the scheduled stop time will encourage future ‘hard’ stops.

I once had a friend share with me how she made her meetings more productive. Their meetings were typically three hours long but a full hour was spent going over things they had already done. My friend changed things slightly by sending the old business reports out early, using an agenda by consent, and then only if there were questions would the old business be dealt with again. To everyone’s benefit their meetings were reduced to two hours.  

One of my favorite ways to hold required meetings with a large group is standing up. This ensures the meetings will be short and to the point as people will only stand for so long before they become restless and let you know from their body language it’s time to go.  

If you have 5 minutes check out Nicole Steinbok’s video on the 22 minute meeting. Not only is it quite entertaining she shares some good tips for holding focused meetings in 22 minutes.

If you have tips for making meetings more productive I would love to hear from you. Together we can all get better at what we do.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at


About Janet, doing it better.

I grew up and still reside in Northern Alberta. While I have numerous interests I am passionate about the Peace River region, its innovation, its people, and the creative spirit that envelopes us all.

Posted on October 11, 2011, in Business Productivity, meeting productivity, meetings, productivity, productivity tools and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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