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Productive Meetings

By Steve Jones,

I hate meetings, or at least, I used to hate meetings. Now with only one a week, it's hard to get too worked up. It does seem to come at an inopportune time more often than not. It seems that for some reason, I'll get super productive the day of my weekly team meeting and I hate to stop working for that hour.

That's the opposite extreme of a previous job I had. My friends used to joke that I had a headset attached to me head when I managed a DBA team. I would literally have 5-6 or more hours of meetings a day, often 6 or 7 scheduled almost every day of the week. I thought most of them were pointless, almost all were poorly run, and they didn't add a lot of value to the company. But I was a manager, and that's what we do, isn't it? Have meetings?

I saw an article recently about how to be more productive in meetings, and after a few involuntary shudders at memories of that one job, I read through the article closely. It has some good advice, and if we could all follow it, I'm sure most meetings would go smoother in the corporate world.

But that's the key;  if everyone, or at least a majority of people buy in, then things work better. However if a percentage of people don't bother to follow along, it's easy to find your meeting degenerating into a waste of time. One person not bothering to prepare, especially if that person is an important contributor to the meeting.

It seems we are in a vicious cycle. People don't run effective meetings, so attendees don't bother to try and help make them more efficient, and we spiral along that path.

Be the bigger person at your next meeting. Ask for an agenda, prepare, do your part, and politly remind others to do the same thing. It might not make a difference in that meeting, but over time you can set a good example and get others to change their behavior. Who knows, perhaps you'll even end up with fewer meetings in the future. Maybe you'll even enjoy some of them.

Steve Jones

 


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