Not Another Meeting

Every time I’m invited to a meeting, I think of the Dilbert cartoon where the pointy-haired boss is ranting

“I called this meeting, and its not a meeting until someone’s time is wasted.”

Meetings

Meetings are the bane of corporate life.

There are few things more discouraging than attending a meeting on a day where you have plenty of work to do—and the meeting seemingly has no purpose and is dominated by one or two individuals with no apparent outcome in mind.

Some interesting statistics are:

  • The typical American professional attends over 60 meetings per month.
  • Approximately 50% of meeting time is wasted.
  • 39% of the people attending the meetings reportedly dozed off during the meeting.

Unfortunately, the Dilbert cartoons about meetings are popular because they resonate with so many people.  It’s frightening to realize Dilbert is truer to life than we like to think.

Good Meetings

As business leaders, we need to see meetings as a tool to further our business goals.  Good meetings all have the same characteristics that have been proven and studied over and over.

Good meetings:

  • Have a defined purpose.
  • Are time efficient with a set beginning and end.
  • Have a written agenda.
  • Include only the people necessary to meet the defined purpose.
  • End with an action.

Great Meetings

The difference between a good meeting and a great meeting, however, is that great meetings include a human touch—they are not the sterile, tension-filled, protocol-following meetings typically envisioned of the corporate world

The human touch lets everyone know that they have been asked to attend for a reason.  Their input is expected and they are free to voice their opinions.  When we gather to solve a problem or arrive at a decision, we need everyone’s ideas and objections.

Meetings with the human touch are also more effective than efficient.  Efficient meetings would go straight to the problem at hand, discuss it at length, make a decision, and adjourn.

Effective meetings start with the end in mind.  They have a clear purpose, but allowances are made to make sure objections and ancillary issues are also discussed.  Effective meetings are more of a forum for open discussion, with alternative views presented and considered.

The agenda for meetings with a human touch is crafted for the people in attendance.  Great agendas include not only the topics to be covered but identifies who in attendance will lead the discussion on each item because of their expertise.  Everyone will then know why they are attending the meeting and what is expected of them.  Also, they can prepare so they can provide better insight during the meeting.

Finally, all discussion during the meeting needs to be brought back to the purpose of the meeting.  Within the given time limit, some defined action plan that is results-oriented needs to be developed and agreed to by the people in attendance.  Every meeting must conclude with identifying “who will be doing what by when.”

The Bible

People are generally social creatures, and nearly everyone wants to be part of a group regardless of what the group is about.  In the business world, everyone wants to be part of the insiders who make the decisions that drive business.

And, even if a few who attend do not agree with the decisions, they still want to be part of the group.              Giving each meeting the human touch will allow those who disagree to voice their opinions safely.

The Bible encourages this.  Ephesians 4:25 says.

 Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

The Bible encourages people to meet and to fellowship.  In the business world, we meet to convey information and to solve problems.  And through being able to speak openly and truthfully, will we be more effective in our meetings.

Adding the human touch to all of our meetings fulfills the requirements of God to care for His people.  All our meetings need to be effective, where everyone can speak up, and decisions are made for the good of the business and the people of God.