Revising the Modern Meeting

Meetings can sometimes be such a waste of time. When I hear the word "meeting", what I really hear is, "Let's waste time while not focusing on the topic about which we're meeting, while simultaneously getting more and more off topic - ultimately leading to accomplishing nothing."  

Brutal? Maybe.  Too harsh?  Possibly.  The truth?  1000%.

"Is it 'cuz I'm a 'Millennial'?" 

Being labeled a millennial is sort of nice sometimes.  The name itself connotes we're tech savvy, we're sometimes written-off for inclusion in older modes of communication or technology, and alludes to how some of us may prefer to communicate via different mediums.  For instance, e-mail.  

Some may automatically roll their eyes when they read the term "e-mail", but it exists for a reason.  If I had a nickel for every time I went into a meeting and left thinking, "This could have been solved via e-mail", I wouldn't be writing this blog post right now.  I'd be counting my stacks and stacks of nickels.  

In no way am I suggesting to cater to millennials.  However, if you want to create a cohesive unit within your organization, you're going to need to cater to others preferences in order to be more successful.  What's good for the goose, is good for the gander - and being more successful means wasting less time in meeting rooms, so folks can keep plugging away.

Tip:  Meet less // E-Mail more.  If a meeting could take less than 20 minutes, write an e-mail.

Are You Saying Meetings are Pointless? 

No I am not saying meetings are pointless.  In fact, meetings can be hugely beneficial, especially when thinking about context, and subjects that may call for more depth.  What I am saying is, if you want to have a meeting - have a point for meeting.  Have that point - and stick to it!   

Tip:  Put a board on the meeting room door.  Include the subject at hand, the time started - and the time the meeting will end.  Set a timer so everyone knows when the meeting needs to end - and stick to it!

But What If Not Everything Is Covered?

Simple answer - schedule another meeting.  Preferably at a different date.  In fact, by doing this, folks could come back for that second meeting with a whole new approach or idea for a project.  Studies have shown that after stepping away from a problem, your subconscious continues to work on the original problem - ultimately leading to the famed "A Ha!" moment.

Tip:  Schedule shorter meetings more frequently.  There is NEVER a need for a three-hour meeting, no matter the subject.

Look - what do I know, right?  I've only been in the workforce for five-plus years.  Am I the final say on how meetings should be approached?  I would hope not.  I'm just speaking for myself - and the countless others out there who may feel the same way.  Shorter, more frequent meetings mixed with e-mails will benefit a company so much more than time-and-money-wasting three hour meetings.

What do you think?  Am I off-base?  Sound off below - I'd love to hear your approach to meetings, what you prefer, and how you stay productive in the workplace.