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Avoid Being Held Hostage in Staff Meetings

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You’ll see more “how to” articles in IB in 2013, and so to warm up, I’ve compiled a few suggestions for how to massage a common workplace sore spot – time wasted in staff meetings. Forget the corporate cost of everyone’s time (salaries plus 30% benefits and related expenses) and instead consider the cost to you of wasting another hour of your life that you can never get back.

Here are five strategies for turning a staff meeting into an opportunity rather than an obligation:

Set an agenda. Define the meeting’s purpose in one actionable sentence: “Establish timetable to launch Product D.” Meetings are useful for identifying specific goals (which are attainable, measurable, and relevant) and/or to assign tasks. 

Share facts in advance of a meeting. Forgo meetings intended to “get together to share information” or recap the last meeting; instead, retrain yourself or others to broadcast an informative memo or white paper through email instead of at sit-down meetings.

Know your role. For larger groups, a timekeeper makes sure the meeting ends at the appointed time; a gatekeeper keeps participants focused on the agenda item or topic; a recorder writes down all agreed-upon decisions, assigned tasks, and deadlines; and a facilitator lists new ideas/brainstorming ideas on a flip chart (or laptop or tablet) and makes sure everyone has a chance to contribute. Everyone around the table is a participant – or else they are honestly expendable, for purposes of the meeting. 

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