December 8, 2006

Meeting Mania

Posted by Bizaholic | 11:38 PM | , , with 2 comments »

Meetings, meetings, more meetings
Insanity, insanity, more insanity
Indecision, indecision, more indecision!


Of the many things I hate about the corporate world, meetings are somewhere near the top. I dread meetings, particularly badly conducted meetings. And meetings conducted just for the sake of conducting – because they are on some periodic schedule – are a nightmare. Not only this meeting mania is frustrating, it is a trigger for a chain reaction that seriously damages the productivity and effectiveness of the organization. And top it up with the cost of conducting a useless meeting!

Chaos originates from meetings when:

  1. Meetings are conducted just for the sake of it
  2. Meetings are conducted without any well defined objective.
  3. Meeting are badly conducted and become directionless.
  4. Meetings don’t start on time.
  5. Attendees are missing or delayed.
  6. Meetings don’t end on time.
  7. Meetings remain inconclusive at the end.
  8. Meetings result in conclusions that are vague and without clear responsibility center and deadline.
  9. Meetings run without any agenda or unnecessarily drift from the agenda midway.
  10. Meetings become a fish market.
  11. Meetings are used to fight turf wars or blame games.
To keep the productivity of organization and its employees at optimal level, meetings must be managed in a very professional manner. This is a necessity in today’s times when the pressure to deliver results is ever increasing, and any wastage of productive time is criminal.

Given below are some of my thoughts on how to make meeting a facilitator of productivity and effectiveness:
  1. Call a meeting only if it is really necessary.
  2. Prepare a well defined agenda with discussion time specified for all the items of agenda. Keep it short and simple, and include only what is necessary.
  3. Circulate the agenda well before the meeting to all the attendees.
  4. Start the meeting on time and strictly stick to the time limits for each item of the agenda.
  5. Let the conductor of the meeting set the directions throughout the meeting.
  6. If any attendee is late, either cancel the meeting or start without him. Also, make sure that he realizes that his late coming is not at all appreciated, and in future he should follow German time standards or else…
  7. At the end of discussion on an item of agenda, jot down the actionable part with clearly defined responsibility center and deadline. Be decisive through out the meeting.
  8. Finish the meeting strictly on time. Running a meeting effectively will ensure this. Only in exceptional cases and that too if it is extremely urgent, stretch the meeting beyond pre-determined end time.
  9. Have the actionable conclusions circulated to all the members within an hour. No need for detailed minutes of meeting running into pages. For the sake of records that may be prepared and filed/ circulated. But definitely that is not a priority. But circulation of actionable conclusions is top priority.
But this can work only if driven from the top. If the leader practices this, the followers too will follow. But if the leader only preaches and hardly, if ever, practices, then followers too will get conditioned to preach without practice; and the tyranny of meetings will continue to rule the corporate corridors.

Avoid meeting mania in self as well as public interest!

2 comments

  1. KPS // December 11, 2006 at 10:18 AM  

    Ha Ha Ha...Too good!!!Couldn't agree with you more, 100% bang on target...You know even me too get really frustrated on these "not at all required" kinda meetings in my organization. I hate attending meetings or making presentations for things which can be easily discussed over phone or by exchanging a two sentenced mail...Somehow I think the corporate perception is that if you are sitting in conference room with a powerpoint on, you are considered to be doing some "serious" or "important" stuff!!! I wish your this post should be posted on all bulletin boards :-)

  2. Anonymous // December 21, 2006 at 5:59 PM  

    Rome wasn't built by having meetings....they just killed anyone who opposed them :)