Why So Many Meetings End Up Being A Failure
Meetings. We’ve all attended them and although some people really, really love going to meetings most of us would rather avoid them. But the question lingers: Are meetings effective?
The effectiveness of meetings is a point that has been raised often and rightfully so. Every person attending an unproductive meeting is a waste of both time and money. In the US alone almost $40 billion dollars are wasted on attending pointless and unnecessary meetings.
According to research 67% of all meetings are outright failures. That means that only one third of all meetings is at least somewhat successful. These are staggering stats. The reasons behind the high number of useless meetings are plentiful: too many participants, multi tasking, lack of engagement and unclear goals. If it is not clear what will be discussed or what needs to be achieved the expectations of the meeting will be all over the place. Some may think the meeting will be about topic A, others may think that topic B will finally be resolved and others will use the meeting to play candy crush on their phone.
Organizing a good meeting doesn’t have to be difficult, but how do you organize a successful meeting? First of all try to figure out if a meeting is really necessary. Many topics can be quickly resolved just by talking to the right person. If you decide to organize a meeting keep the following five guidelines in mind:
1) Set clear goals what you want to discuss and what needs to be achieved. This will help you and the participants to prepare and stay on topic. If there is important information the participants should know about, send it to them prior to the meeting so they can read the material and prepare for that topic.
2) Invite only a small amount of people. This will increase engagement and reduces the risk of endless topics with a plethora of opinions.
3) Try to set a time limit of 30 minutes.
4) Manage the meeting. This may sound redundant, but this often overlooked, which leads to meetings spinning out of control and being a waste of time and money. Lead the discussions, avoid going too far off topic, mind the time and engage the participants.
5) Once a topic has been discussed, summarize what has been discussed, mention the action points and make it clear who is responsible for which item and set deadlines. Distribute the summaries and actionable points after the meeting.