Why meetings are productivity killers and how you can save yourself?

by Ashvini Kumar Saxena on January 10, 2011 · 4 comments

in Productivity

Meetings have become the biggest time wasters in a work day. A meeting can disturb your work, stretch on long without getting results and seldom reach conclusions.

Meetings are time wasters

Many a times , meetings just go on for ever without accomplishing anything substantial. They may also lead to setting up of another meeting. This game continues forever wasting more and more time.
As an exercise, take the total hours that are spent in meetings, in your organization and multiply them with the number of people participating. You would be horrified by the results you derive out of meetingĀ  compared to the loss of productivity.

To summarize why most of the meetings do not meet the intended target:

  1. Most of the meetings do not have a set agenda and start with an ad-hoc agenda or a vague agenda.
  2. Most of the time, meetings ends without any meaningful conclusion
  3. Meetings normally take up the time of attendees, time that can be utilized in completing other productive tasks.
  4. Meetings are often dominated by a person or a group of persons which leads to lack of interests from other participants
  5. Meetings often stretch beyond their meeting times because of lack of agreement between various parties
  6. If there is a lack of consensus, more subsequent meetings are scheduled

So if you can avoid meeting, you should. Here are some tips that will help you get the maximum benefit out of a meeting.

  1. Try asking the organizer for an agenda
  2. If you are the organizer, set an agenda. Divide the time available among multiple topics.

  3. Set an owner for each of the topics that you want to be discussed
  4. Assign a moderator and clearly outline his/her roles and responsibility
  5. Inform everyone that they should stick to the timelines
  6. Inform everyone politely to stick to the agenda
  7. Try to get as much closures as possible on the agenda
  8. Note down minutes of meetings and send them to everyone for concurrence
  9. Set up definitive timeliness for actions arising out of meeting. Follow up on them
  10. Try to get an agreement from all attendees that further meetings are not necessary and all future communication can happen by email

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonia October 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

You have no idea how many times I go in “sleepy mode” when I have to attend a meeting at my day job. Most times it’s due to issues that need to be addressed and I get that, but when it’s just someone going: “blah, blah, blah”, it puts me to sleep. I can say the same for Conference calls where people are just rambling about nothing. Most times I sit there thinking, “I could have answered that question in email”.

I am not one for sitting too long and I hate when people go on and on, get to the point already! These are great tips and I will remember to try and incorporate that in my next bi-weekly meeting.

Reply

Alka January 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm

You said it. Bang on!

Reply

Ashvini Kumar Saxena January 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Thanks Alka for your comment. :)

Reply

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