These Meetings Are Killing Me!!!

Maximized Leadership: These Meetings Are Killing Me!!!

Do you ever feel like you are a “P.M.A.?”  That would be a professional meeting attender. The fact is that any organization with more than just a hand full of members or employees has a lot of moving parts. Meetings are a necessity to enhance good communication, foster alignment, and to sharpen strategy. But, not all meetings are created equal. John G. Miller says that “outstanding organizations simply don’t waste people’s precious time with meaningless meetings. Someone once said that the worst of all murders is the killing of time.” While his second sentence is certainly exaggerated I hope you caught the key word in the first sentence….”meaningless.”

Perhaps you have responsibility for leading meetings on some occasions and granted, they are often necessary. If so, here are a few pointers to make the most of the time in your meetings:

  1. Have a clear leader for the meeting. He/She should take charge, stay on point, and move toward accomplishing the goal of the gathering.
  2. Have an agenda. What will you talk about, in what order will you talk about it, and can you stick with it?
  3. Try to limit the list. Fewer items can actually allow for greater focus.
  4. Focus on the right things. Spend time planning and problem solving. Do not waste energy discussing someone else’s job. The greatest expertise resides in knowing how someone else should do their job! Your meeting’s purpose is to discuss how to best do yours.
  5. Choose the right time and place. Choose an environment as free of distractions as possible while attending to a degree of comfort. Try to schedule at a time when participants are not anxious to get out due to other responsibilities.
  6. Invite the right people. One thing worse than a dull meeting is a dull meeting that is totally irrelevant to the person attending.
  7. Prepare. If you are not prepared you are wasting people’s time. Get your ducks in a row in advance.
  8. Be punctual. Start on time and finish on time or finish earlier. No one ever complains about finishing too early.
  9. Herd the cats. If you are leading then you bear responsibility for keeping on task. Is it okay to chase a rabbit? Yes but keep him in the meadow.
  10. If someone is done let them leave.

I have to lead a lot of meetings and try hard to model the best practices. But I am open to suggestions and I hope you would be likewise for those who often find themselves in your meetings. Outstanding organizations utilize meetings to energize their team members and bend over backwards not to drain team members with meetings. Let’s all take this principle to heart. I must run now… I have a meeting to attend.


*Adapted from Chapter Eight of John G. Miller’s Outstanding; 47 Ways To Make Your Organization Exceptional