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Avoid meeting nightmares

Published: 2020-10-06 09:10

We’ve all been through this at least once: staring at graphs on a powerpoint during three hours, wondering why we are here, letting our mind escaping from this cell, leaving us on this chair with an empty sight. Inefficient and useless meetings. It’s a kind of disease of the modern companies. You thought that being home due to Covid 19 would avoid you this? Absolutely not! It just added new rules to the game and made it a bit more complicated to master.

Don’t let this happen again and, as an organizer or an attendee, check the following points!

The 3 hours nightmare.

First comes the bad news when you send or get the invitation. Hard to expect to book such a long time for everybody, in the middle of every day’s tasks. I’ve never seen one person enthusiastic on the idea of spending 3 hours in a room for a reunion. Well, I haven’t met the whole world either, but let’s face it, science demonstrated that attention tends to drastically decrease after 20 minutes of focusing on a topic, and it will be natural to look for a distraction after this time.  This is even easier when you work remotely. The temptation of taking care of other tasks or incoming mails is closer than ever! Avoid this pain to everybody, make the meeting short and intense, with the next point…

Specify clearly the topics discussed…

…And stick to it. If you expect some input from the attendees, specify exactly what is waited from them in your invitation. If you already want to gather some info or feedback that will be used during the meeting, why not joining a Form to your invitation? If you’re the meeting leader, don’t hesitate to remind your colleagues to stick to the topics when you see that discussion are sliding from the current project to the best kind of cream used to make a Schwarzwälderkirchtoche. The call of the belly can be one of the disruptors on your way so…

Schedule your meeting wisely !

With flexible working hours, it might be a good idea to stick in the mandatory period that would allow the maximum of people to attend the meeting. Meetings involving different time zones will obviously be more tricky than others but if you want to have have full attention of the people, middle of the morning and beginning of afternoon are probably the best time. People will usually start to think about food at 11.30, and after 2 o’clock, there are some chances that center of attention slowly goes in the end of the day activities: children, sports, friends. With the Swedish lifestyle, you’ll have lost everybody after 4pm! If you scheduled it, then…

Respect the schedule!

This is obvious for the organizer: be ready on time! Check that all your support documents and devices are operational or be ready to take an improvisation lesson! do you remind this drop of sweat running from your neck to your back when you couldn’t open your file and had no backup plan? Don’t let that happen again!

But it’s also true for the attendees:

Show up on time. Does it really worth it to become the center of attention because you’re not able to be on time as everybody else? It will not make you more desirable, but as huge chances to be interpreted as a lack of respect. Speaking of attendees, do you really need to be here?

Select the attendees carefully:

Do all the people invited to the meeting really need to be here? If you have the feeling that the presence of some people will only be useful for a short time, why not trying to put this specific time at the beginning of the meeting? They will be grateful when you’ll set them free! On the other side, if you get an invitation and that you feel that you’ll not be useful for most of the topic, you can gently explain this to the organizer. Maybe several people are in your situation, and you’re potentially contributing to a well organized meeting! The way how this one evolves is important, so…

Too many people, maybe?

Make it dynamic!

I’ve learned this from my scouting experience. No expectation  that you gonna gather around a firecamp and sing ”Kumbaya” (without counting on the fact that the office carpet will not appreciate this shared time), but breaking the rhythm of the meeting will help keeping attention of everybody. Use different type of supports. Why not trying to use a mentimeter if the topic allow this possibility, for example, to create more interactions? . If the meeting MUST be long, a coffee break is always welcome! In all cases, make the attendees participate a bit more, make them speak and listen carefully, until it’s time to…

…End on time…

And it’s even more appreciated if it’s a couple of minutes earlier, so you can socialize in a less formal manner with your colleagues. Watch out after the clock, the 5 extra minutes as a big tendency to become a quarter, and as it’s the last step of the meeting, it will surely leave a lack of organization. If you saved a couple of precious minutes, don’t hesitate to sum up what’s been discussed and make sure that everybody has understood the actions to take.

So what’s your plan? Will you grab your guitar and start burning marshmallows?

 

Författare

Kommentarer
Ellinor
20 oktober 2020

Great post Mikaël, very true!

Giulia Salvestroni
13 oktober 2020

Very true and good tips !

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