Cult Of Meeting Culture
Cult Of Meeting Culture
Collaboration. Teamwork. Group brainstorming. Knowledge sharing.  All are great ideas that can help spur innovation. However, the execution of these concepts generally takes on a much less inspiring form–the Meeting. You know that when you see a meeting invitation pop up, your first thought is not, “Wow, what an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other folks and share ideas!” More than likely, you echo Dave Barry’s sentiment:  “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’”

Let’s be perfectly candid here, and acknowledge the fact that most meetings do nothing but waste time. (Google “meetings suck,” and you will see how many folks share this view.) Some of the biggest time wasters are these:
  • Preliminary Meeting
  • Meeting to Discuss _________
  • Update Meetings
  • Let’s Review Past Information Meeting
  • We Should Meet Because It Seems Like We Should Meeting
  • The “Let’s Regroup” Meeting
The amount of money wasted by Meeting Culture is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Why? Because most meetings add no value to anything. Facts may be communicated during meetings, but value is not realized. Many meetings are held without agendas or goals, and most of the time the people in the meeting do not have a clear sense of the purpose of the meeting. Meetings have become a way to default on decision making. “We will have to meet again to discuss XYZ before we can make a determination.”

If we want to get results and deliver value, we need to change the way we look at Meeting Culture. We need to stop having meetings for the sake of having them and start to think about the results we hope to achieve. To that end, we should:
  • Always meet with an agenda that has a goal
  • Ask participants to come prepared
  • Limit time and use of PowerPoint
  • Set clear expectations of action items that come out of the meeting
  • Reevaluate recurring meetings and their necessity
  • Invite the right people
Your colleagues, customers, and coworkers will all thank you if you limit the time spent on unnecessary meetings, and allow them to focus on achieving results. And if your meeting could be communicated via email instead, by all means, opt for that!