Thursday, February 28, 2008

Unsolicited Rant: 30 Minutes I'll Never Get Back

By Matt:

I'm sure this is the first of many posts about pointless meetings:

I just got out of a 30-minute meeting that was scheduled yesterday at the last minute - as usual, sent to me via Outlook with me listed as a "required attendee", a vague subject listed, and no agenda indicated. I always hate this because I never know what I'm getting into until 10 minutes into the meeting, and by then my frustration has morphed into hate.

Well the meeting was a disaster. Turns out we were on this conference call with a client talking about promotions that had nothing to do with the accounts I manage. As is often the case I was invited merely because the conversation involved people with my department... but not because anything was actually needed of me. One of those "how many account managers does it take to change a lightbulb?" situations, and certainly 30 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

If you're in charge of running meetings at your corporate job, do yourself and everyone else a favor, and consider these meeting hacks below:
  • If you schedule the meeting via Outlook or some other electronic invite, include a detailed description of what you want to accomplish in the meeting.
  • Only invite people that NEED to be there... if you want others to attend for informational purposes, mark them as Optional, and let them make the decision.
  • Send an agenda and explicitly list the involvement you expect from each member.
  • If you have one, include a meeting "best practices" on the agenda. This should include such behaviors as no cell phone use, no blackberry use, etc. There is nothing worse than a distracted multi-tasker while you're trying to conduct a useful meeting.
  • Start the meeting on time. End it on time. If people come late and realize you've already begun, they'll be embarrassed and arrive on time at the next meeting.
In a perfect world, meetings wouldn't exist. Since they do, at least try to make them tolerable instead of mind-numbing and infuriating.

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