Meeting expectations

This post is not about the rating that your performance is meeting expectations but about expectations we have from all those meetings that take place.

We all know the feeling that you are in a meeting and you ask yourself what you are doing there and if you could not be more productive working alone.Sleeping at the conference.

The purpose of meetings can be lots of things but sometimes or maybe most times people do not know or agree what the meeting is called for. With my hangup about goal clarity I really want to know not only what the meeting was called for but also what every item on the agenda is supposed to accomplish.

Are we problem solving, information sharing, deciding, brainstorming, or maybe just socializing? Some meetings are actually called but all work has already been accomplished outside the meeting but an official meeting needs to take place to create minutes and have official votes on items.

Referring to my earlier post about Teamittees, sometimes is it even unclear what the actual goal of the assembled group of individuals is.

If you are lucky enough to work in a matrix organization then the number of meetings can certainly be overwhelming as you will be expected to visit meetings of all sides of the matrix. One of my more challenging assignments was in a job where the number of hours that I was expected to be in meetings, not even taking into account travel times to and from the meetings, some of which were international, exceeded the number of hours I was expected to work. Lots of these meetings overlapped and so due to conflicting meeting times I would have some time to actually get some work accomplished.

One of the executives I worked with had this rule that he would not participate in meetings over one hour. He would actually get up after one hour and leave the room. It didn’t make for very productive meetings and as you have a rule like that but fail to put the organization in place that can support it then you may be in for some surprises.

Other organizations had an overabundance of spreadsheets and word documents documenting every word that was said, agendas, meeting minutes participants details etc.

Improve meetings

So what can we do to make the meetings more productive or not have them?

As usual, it all depends on the Goal! What are you trying to accomplish, get that clear and your meeting will run smooth. Also make clear who has the ball for any part of the project you are working on and who is in charge of casting the final vote. You should also clarify who should in the meeting and who really does not have to be there. Try to keep the meeting time to a minimum, remember; “work has a tendency to expand to the time allocated to it“.

Here are some www resources with great advice on meeting effectiveness:


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