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STOP Wasting Time and Money in Meetings

STOP Wasting Time and Money in Meetings

Typical managers spend between 50% and 95% of their time in meetings. You know, from experience, how little of that time is productive. The question, if you are serious about achieving great results, is: how can you stop wasting time and money in meetings?

Have you experienced this?

A senior figure calls a meeting, an all-day meeting. Yes, I know, your heart sank at the mere mention of the prospect. By 10:30 you have lost the will to live, and you’ve only suffered the first 90 minutes. “Suffered”? Oh, yes, in the vast majority of cases the “Chair” of the meeting is not chairing anything even remotely close to being productive, and a full-on suffering-fest is in full swing.

Are you at your best in those terminal torture times? Of course not. Be honest now, how much can you actually contribute in such a dysfunctional setting, not just you, but everyone there? Not a lot. By contrast, your least productive day of thumb-twiddling is much more productive. Do you want to continue as is, or, stop wasting time and money in meetings?

Regardless of whether you masochistically enjoy “one day kill me now, please” events, I’ll bet you have seen this horror, too.

Mr or Ms X brings along his/her hobby horse to the meeting, and every point under discussion is a chance to ride that equine excruciator; every topic is painfully twisted to “justify” a full gallop. You can never show it, but inside every time the person opens their mouth, you can feel your eyes rolling back in your head; you can sense that everyone else feels exactly the same way… except the Chair. The Chair seems oblivious to even more time, and morale, being squandered by, yet another, circuit on the same tired old hobby horse, regardless of what is supposedly being discussed. Please, you scream inside: “STOP WASTING TIME AND MONEY IN MEETINGS!”

You’ve probably seen this too.

The meeting topics are circulated. Most points have one or two words, in which to tell you as little as possible about what will be covered, or why. Point number 5 reads: “Health and Safety.” Of course (!) with your psychic abilities, you instantly know what that is about, and can come to any meeting prepared to contribute. Point number 8 reads: “Customers.” Here, you have to up-your-game and break out your divining rod to fully comprehend what is going on, but, hey, you’re good at this mystical meaning measuring method; no one gets a one-worder past you without revealing the entire hidden meaning. Ho hum! “STOP” You scream!

This one is bound to be one of your favourites.

Your much loved office bore gets his/her platform every meeting; the difference during meetings is: you have to listen for just a long and s/he chooses. Needless to say, the bore seeks revenge for you not listening to their last two hour rant. How? By making this version of ‘War and Peace’ as dull and painful as possible. The Chair tries several times to force the bore to a point, gives up and does what everyone else has done: tunes-out and waits for the bore to finish… and waits… and waits… while a master class in the ancient art of verbal redundancy is generously laid on for all. “STOP!”

DVD_FLO_meeting_mngmntYou’ve loved this one, too.

The Chair directs discussion to be around topic Q, and within 30 seconds the first speaker has taken it off to R. The second speaker goes off on tangent S, and the third to area T. You ask yourself: “Am I the only person who has noticed this mutiple change in subject?” Probably not. But you might be the only person who gives a damn. Why? “Hey, if we stick to the topic, there is the real and present danger that we might finish early, and, have to… oh, the thought is too horrible to utter… and have to do some … WORK!”

If you are one of the people who likes meeting to be effective, productive and quick, then contact PsyPerform to learn how to master the art of meeting management. Once you have the skills, even meetings you don’t chair can be made productive. Alternatively, you could carry on with things as they are. (Enjoy!) Your call. What will you do? Take no action? Or master the art of meeting management? 

Prof Nigel MacLennan
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