The word “meetings” draws a variety of responses from people, but let’s be honest, it’s often negative.
I remember an old saying about the financial consequences of owning a boat. It went, “a boat is a hole in the water that you pour all your money into.” Funny enough, I think the person I first heard that from owned a boat!
We could apply this formula to meetings, too: meetings are just holes in the schedule that you pour time, effort, and resources into with little result. The difference between a boat and a meeting is that the boat is fun.
In spite of this, I don’t hate meetings. No, really, I don’t. Meetings can be productive, valuable gatherings where a bunch of people add value to one another and create something bigger than themselves, accomplish huge goals, and set a course for success. They really can be.
Between you and me and the fencepost, however, most meetings are pointless.
That’s why it’s amazing how, even in the era of high-tech communication tools and always-on messaging/e-mail, meetings are as big a factor as ever.
Meetings are, in fact, more present than they used to be. There’s Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and so many other services that allow a large group of people to congregate online. The increasing number of businesses with remote employees guarantees that virtual meetings will only become more commonplace.
So how do you avoid the pointless meetings and have more good ones? My friend, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve both run and participated in an awful lot of awful and good meetings in recent years. From my experience, here’s what distinguishes the best meetings from the worst.