A company meeting often feels like the participants are sitting in a classroom headed by a teacher in a “Charlie Brown” cartoon, where it’s impossible to understand anything and the experience inspires daydreaming instead of brainstorming. Many managers avoid meetings unless they’re necessary, but when everyone in the department needs to sit in the same room for an hour, there are a number of habits to avoid lest the meeting become naptime for most of the employees.
1. Using the Conference Room
A conference room is fine for a quick meeting between a few employees that might take no longer than 10 minutes. Longer meetings and gatherings with many participants never fare well in a boring site like the conference room. The blinding fluorescent lights and bland walls invite employees to doze off and not pay attention to meeting details. A much better spot for a company meeting is outside on the grass or in any spot that’s not labeled “conference room,” even if it’s just a 10 minute gathering.
2. Starting Late or Early
Sitting around waiting for a meeting to start is boring, and the longer employees have to wait, the less interested they are likely to be in any topics presented. Likewise, a meeting that begins too early is a terrible idea because participants who arrive on time will be required to play catch-up during the meeting. If meetings are routinely started on time, most employees will arrive just in time for the start and won’t sit around twiddling their thumbs.
3. Meeting without Clear Purpose
Most companies require a weekly meeting to catch up on everything that’s happened during the week, but depending on business style, these meetings might be a waste of time. A company might regularly deal with projects lasting weeks or months, and there’s little reason to meet so often just to go around the table with status updates from each project manager. Utilizing a thinner meeting schedule may benefit a company.
4. Fail to Make Decisions
A meeting filled with a bunch of bland status updates is no reason to have a get-together. When decisions that might impact the entire department or section need to be made scheduling a meeting is a good idea. Preparing well and making solid decisions during the meeting is vital for using everyone’s time effectively. It’s important that a meeting where problems have been presented doesn’t close without some sort of solution hitting the table.
5. Invite everyone on the floor
Although many members of the department might be involved in a particular project, few people will have decision-making capabilities regarding project direction and time-frame. A meeting that requires the presence of team leaders and managers is usually sufficient outside of rare circumstances where major announcements or achievements require sharing with the entire floor.
Meetings are a necessary evil for businesses that employ at least 10 people. But weekly status update meetings where nothing is decided, nobody wants to attend, and the environment puts everyone to sleep, waste the time of employees, managers, and everyone required to attend. Meetings need to exist as a place to get things done and create solutions to problems in an environment that breeds creativity instead of naptime.