One of the biggest reasons people hold meetings is to share information. It’s also one of the worst! In our Better Meetings survey we found that 43% of meetings consist mainly of information sharing.
Particularly in ‘team meetings;, it is tempting to ask people to summarize what they’ve been working on, or to get status updates on our activity.
Unfortunately, in most of these meetings, the information is given is of limited use to the other participants. The meeting leader or boss and the specific individual may be interested, but everyone else rarely is. This is a huge waste of time.
If your meeting is just to share information, without an opportunity to do anything with it, then there are much more effective ways to do that nowadays. You can post information on blogs. You can send it by e-mail, or create slides to share. It’s really not necessary to interrupt people’s busy days to force them to come to a face-to-face meeting to receive information.
One of the worst examples we have seen was an individual who was asked to travel to a meeting to find that it consisted of showing a video!
These information giving meetings tend to be quite passive for most participants. They give meetings a bad name.
We work a lot with global and virtual teams and meeting time is it a real premium. People may be joining global conference calls late at night, and face-to-face meetings are incredibly expensive. In this case calling a meeting for the passive consumption of someone else’s information is a poor use of our time.
Meetings should be about decision-making, co-creating new solutions and active participation. It is a good principle that if there is no place for participation, you don’t need a meeting.
To celebrate our 20th birthday we are making available some of the tools, practices and tips that we use to help participants cut down the number of meetings they attend and improve the quality of the ones that remain.
We are also running a Better Meetings survey, you can take it here: Better Meetings Survey – and find out how you compare with other organizations.
When you join the campaign – join the campaign for better meetings – you will receive a series of six free weekly booklets that contain tips, ideas and actions to enable you to run fewer, better face to face and virtual meetings
If you’ve had enough of unnecessary meetings, join the campaign today!