Meetings are a waste of time and money


During my career , I could estimate that more than 75% of my average working day was spent in meeting.
My last boss thought that the only way to proper communicate was in a meeting. Given a 60-hour work week, that amounts to more than 40 hours spent sitting in meetings each and every week.
And this is a pattern that I repeated for countless years, believing that collaborative meetings were the key to both personal and team success.
When I look back on those years and feel that my time was not being properly used and question the value that my role provided my employers.
Sure, meetings certainly do have value in the workplace but there is a tipping point where meetings can become detrimental to a business’ bottom line.

All meetings are expensive and not worthy
During the next meeting you attend, add up the hourly cost of every person in the room.
Then check the result and imagine that you’re paying for it,  if money came out of your pocket, would you have the meeting? Do you think the result pays the bill?
I am sure that we all have attended countless meetings throughout the course of our careers where our attendance was entirely unnecessary or with a very low value.
Furthermore, sitting idle in a meeting means that other work is not being performed. Now multiply that value by the amount of people attending said meeting.

Recurring meetings are not efficient.
Many of us liked to schedule recurring touch points with their staff on a weekly basis.
Often, the justification for these meetings is to provide updates on your work and advancement.
If you work in an office, I am sure you have attended more of these meetings that you can count.
I’m also sure that you have participated in a meeting where many people present was not able to give a clear update or status.
Today there are tools that allow to share the work progress.
Is it not better to dedicated these meetings to discuss about deviations only with related members?
Meetings are not for team-building exercises
Motivation and team cohesion are critical to the success of all businesses.
Scheduling weekly team meetings are not a good replacement of meaningful team-building activities.
Grouping everyone into a room once a week to discuss does not help create good team dynamics.
For this, it’s better to have an open activity between all members out of the company where all members can discuss and share more than project problems…
Accomplishing hard things together is the best way to improve team chemistry–not sitting in a meeting.
Short ad hoc meetings any time to present, explain or share ideas and concept.
Being efficient is critical to my success in start up. With limited resources,  the only meetings that appear on my calendar are those that are created only when a specific need arises and to address a very specific item .
With these explicit rules in place, weeks can go by without a single meeting being scheduled. Meetings do have value – but only when scheduled for specific reasons.
Instead, any member should have the opportunity to open a meeting of specific at any moment to get feedback or to share any idea to the rest of the team.
Sometimes, informal meetings around a coffee are tools that allow us to share ideas, to have open discussions and sometimes to disagree about how business should be developed but this small discussions are consolidate with the group when it’s necessary by ad hoc meetings.
Meetings are not to take decisions.
Meetings are very bad places to make decisions. With many differing opinions, too much time can be spent trying to arrive at a simple conclusion.
I have participated in many meetings without final decision when the result was to make another meeting to keep discussions on.
Ideally, decisions are made by the primary decision-makers offline and meetings can then be scheduled to support, explain and implement these decisions.
If you have made an impacting decision, send an email. Do not oblige people to attend a meeting that can easily be replaced by a few written words.Agenda and meeting lengths are key to success a meeting.  
I will say that a meeting should have only one subject and all members should be master the subject in advance.
Preparation is very important, all members should understand the problem, the expectations and result expected in the meeting.
Length should be appropriate to necessary time and nothing else. Sometimes, I heard that people have not time to prepare the meeting and it’s truth.
With 7 or 8 meetings per day, people has not the time to be prepared and share quality information during the meetings.
One of the things that I learnt in my last discussion with American startups was that more and more people are forgetting powerpoint presentations.
This method based on amazon’s meetings, where a report is received and read by all members at the beginning of the meeting to know about subject, are becoming very popular these days.
Meetings are to share thoughts but not to think loud except in brainstorm meetings.
Meetings efficiency is very important because they use a lot of resources and they are very expensive for the company.
My understanding is communication should be structured and informed to all members in advance. Attendees should be responsible to be informed about the agenda and the topics.
People that are not aware of the discussions should not take care of the meeting. Meetings are to share, to ask, to explain but not to discuss about several topics without conclusions.
These discussions should be done offline between participants.
Inigo Mayoral, founder of Insbuildrive.com

Business ManagementManagement and LeadershipStartups

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Founder of Insbuildrive.com

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