Meetings are the biggest waste of time. Lowest ROI ever. Here is what is needed to set and run the meeting:
- Waste time trying to find available time slot suitable for every attendee.
- Waste time coordinating the room.
- Waste time traveling to the meeting place.
- Waste time for unnecessary small talk at the beginning of the meeting.
- Waste time during the meeting to get back on track only because somebody decided to raise another unplanned topic.
- Waste time arguing who’s to summarize the meeting.
- Wasting time after the meeting to clarifying the summary.
- Wasting time traveling back from the meeting.
Is not it a pure waste of time?
But there are a cases when meetings are unavoidable. This is what I do to make most of it:
- Try to avoid it at any cost and suggest alternative communication channels. I always prefer using email. Phone calls yet another evil.
- Start meeting exactly at the time it was scheduled. Do not wait for those who are late. Those who come on time do not have to suffer.
- Make sure I know exactly who attends the meeting. Helps avoid attending meetings that have no impact.
- Define clear agenda beforehand and distribute to the attendees. Helps preparing better for the meeting. Meeting becomes more focused thus productive. "This is what we are going to discuss".
- Set clear goals/outcomes for the meeting. Helps stay on track and reduces noises. "This is what we need to get out of the meeting".
- Summarize action items during the meeting. Saves time for summaries afterwards. Helps avoiding roundtrips for refining the summary.
- Make sure action items identify clear outcome, responsible person, due date/time. Helps avoiding misunderstandings. "Persona A does B due to date C".
- As the meeting ends – read aloud the summary, and after everyone agrees just send it out.
- Finish the meeting exactly by the meeting’s scheduled end time. It should carry out the message "I appreciate my own and the attendees time".