9 ways not to waste your time when meeting your colleagues

As parents, workers, friends and human beings we need to pay attention to one universal competence; becoming better at organizing and participating in meetings. In all aspects of life, you need to make sure that you have a purpose of meeting with someone. A purpose that will make you happier, make you achieve something great or just make you relax.

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On my way to get a cup of coffee on my very first day at one of our new ckients, I overheard a conversation between two colleagues joking about a meeting they had just been at. I joined the cheerful conversation which led to a few really ‘bad advices’ on how to go about meetings. I realise, that from an educational perspective, it is not considered  wisely to tell what you should not do, but here goes the  dont’s:

The 9 dont’s to have more efficient meetings

  • Don’t think: There is a higher probability that all participants have had the chance to find the meeting room if you begin a meeting 5-10 minutes later than you have announced.
  • Don’t think: I can always prolong the meeting since it is very unlikely that any of the participants have a meeting afterwards.
  • Don’t think: I should invite enough people there is bound to be someone present who knows something about any particular topic that might emerge during the meeting.
  • Don’t think: That managers and senior managers should always attend, if it suddenly becomes necessary to take a decision during the meeting.
  • Don’t think: I was probably only invited in case you had nothing else to do, so you should never bother to inform the meeting organizer if you are coming to a meeting or not.
  • Don’t think: The figures I was supposed to bring for the meeting will most likely not be used anyway, so I don’t bother bringing them as well.
  • Don’t think: I might as well be 5 minutes late, since nobody else is on time.
  • Don’t think: I better not ask questions or ask for further details, as the meeting then tends to last longer.
  • Don’t think: The longer a meeting keeps going, the higher the need for absolute silence and time for reflection, so please don’t do anything that will energize you during the meeting. It’s better to just focus on staying awake than waking up the rest of the participants.

The do’s for more efficient meetings

 

I do appreciate my new peers’ good sense of humor and shall only in a discreet manner slide in what I would consider good deeds to ensure an effective meeting culture. It could, however, contain codes of conduct for the effective organization, for which time plays a significant role.

Organizers…

  • begin and end at the planned time. A new meeting is planned for the topics, which were not handled during the 1st meeting
  • only involve participants that need to be there in order to take the necessary decisions
  • may invite other participants to present information
  • share content prior to a meeting. Either as an agenda or as a reference to a previous meeting
  • spend some time before inviting people to a meeting to think about, what is the expected outcome of the meeting and add that to the invite
  • differentiate between meetings and workshops
  • end meetings with a wrap-up of decisions and action points

 Participants

  • inform the organizer at least a day ahead if you’re not able to participate in a meeting
  • inform the organizer at least a day ahead if you’re not able to participate in a meeting
  • commit to show prepared for each meeting. If not ,notify the organizer at least a day ahead
  • attend meetings open-minded and commit to challenge each other appropriately
  • are allowed to stand up during the meeting

Finally, remember that good meeting facilitation is visual because it helps people remember what you talked about. Bring card board, post-it notes, make people feel energized during the meeting and good things will come to you.

 

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