Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No More Meeting Complaints

No more complaining about wasting your time in meetings. If you truly believe that your time is being wasted, do something about it. Even when you don't control the meeting, you can influence it.

You can ask the organizer (before the meeting begins) about the purpose and the intended outcome. If you don't like what you hear (or you don't believe it), you might even ask a tactful question or two to either uncover a rationale or to prompt a reconsideration or redirection by the person who called the meeting.

You can engage in the discussion. Sometimes, the best meetings are those in which you don't see an obvious purpose but you do hear the avenue through which you can speak to help give it more meaning for yourself and/or for those around you.

You can always not go. Don't absolve yourself of the associated responsibilities, but depend on a follow-up with the organizer to get the assignments. And, remember, then when you don't attend, you give up your opportunity to influence what goes on and what comes out of the meeting. (In other words, if you don't go, you are expected to go along with whatever was discussed, determined or decided.)

You can, also, go and discreetly do other things. I'm not suggesting you engage in Blackberry bingo or laptop lunacy (neither sends a good message), rather catch up on reading printed reports or articles, refine your to-do list, review your group's progress against its strategic plan or just reflect on issues of the moment.

Meetings are not going away -- and good meetings are means through which to make solid progress through any organization. So, become a good meeting goer and use your influence to make the meeting better for everyone.
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