You must begin by dispelling the myths and the quick-fix hype if you’ve been dealing with bloated, underperforming meetings and have resolved this year to get them in shape once and for all.
Why? Many executives have tried to improve their terrible meetings by enforcing simple, rigid rules like mandating that all meetings be limited to 15 minutes in length.
They think they’re being strong and acting morally, but it doesn’t work. The nasty meetings just yo-yo back after a small break.
These oversimplified notions are the result of believing widespread meeting myths and then acting as though they were true.
Here are three meeting myths that hold back leaders from successfully fostering a positive meeting culture
Everyone detests meetings
This opinion is widespread, however, research after research demonstrates that people frequently prefer meetings to other means of communication, even when you exclude those who meet for a living (like sales).
It is logical. Just think about which you perceive to be more efficient: Email or meetings? Whenever a subject is even remotely complex, people opt for meetings.
So why do many still believe that “everyone dislikes meetings”?
It makes me think of taxes. Nobody likes taxes, but when you look a little closer, you’ll find that most people aren’t advocating that we stop paying taxes and stop using public services.
People regard roads, schools, and other facilities that are supported by taxes to be quite useful. However, we detest it when our money is taken from us and wasted in ways that we disagree with.
Similar to taxes, many profess to detest meetings because they dislike having their time and energy spent in unproductive meetings.
Shorter meetings are better and result in decisions
Let’s look at a few typical cases.
The daily standup meeting should just last a few minutes as your team quickly walks around the room expressing their daily ideas. But a stand-up has no set agenda. Instead, it has a ritualistic aspect. Even stand-ups don’t always result in choices.
They are conducted to ensure that the entire team has the knowledge necessary to make wise judgments throughout the day.
A board meeting is in contrast to that. Board meetings must have an agenda and decisions must be made. Do you need to limit board meetings to 15 minutes or less, though? Absolutely not.
You want to take advantage of the time your board members have while they are outstanding individuals who can benefit your company.
Keep this in mind the next time someone suggests that you implement a single, straightforward approach to “solve” all of your meeting-related issues. It will not. Context is essential for meetings.
Meetings are a problem for every business
It can take years and multiple jobs before you discover a team that meets effectively since ineffective meetings happen so frequently.
Even though you may have had a bad meeting experience, there are teams and even entire organizations that organize excellent meetings.
How do they perform this wonder? By putting in place a strong communication architecture that spells out how and how often information is shared among teams, individuals, and systems across the entire organization.
Afterward, they create the precise meetings they must hold for their particular business setting as a component of that architecture.
When creating the flow for each type of discussion, they consider how they interact with consumers and with one another.
Everyone will be aware of the meeting time and what needs to be done to ensure its success.
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