Do you want to know the number one cause of inefficiency and lack of productivity in America?
Like it or not, if you work for a living your productive work time is sabotaged more completely and thoroughly by meetings than any other single factor one can name. What should be truly meaningful useful time dedicated to the creation of real tangible value is instead reduced to mind numbing, poorly facilitated, and useless, ineffective meetings robbing you, your workplace and your organization of joy, productivity and results.
What can you do about it?
Nationally renowned time management expert Jon Petz, author of the book Boring Meetings Suck, says that it’s time for a revolution.
From now on he says, if you hold or attend a meeting, the people there must be told in no uncertain terms that they are fully authorized and empowered to:
Take action NOW.
Deliver a life-changing experience instead of merely meeting an expectation.
They must fully expect to be the absolute best they can be.
They must bring to the table all the passion they have with regard to who they are and what they do.
Is this vision of meetings possible?
“You better believe it!” says Petz. His new book is packed with ideas and recommendations on how to fire up meeting productivity and achieve fireworks in meetings like never before.
Here are just a few of the incredible ideas he offers about how to create more effective meetings and greater office productivity.
1. STOP! THINK before you send the meeting invite. Reduce the number or even eliminate regular planned meetings. Obtain consensus or results without filling the conference room. Do it. Use alternate ways to achieve your outcome before committing a dozen people to dreaded conference hour long. A meeting invite shouldn’t be your instant response to every challenge or issue.
2. REDUCE the number of people. STOP the “Over-Invitation Syndrome”. Are you inviting the whole gang to not hurt feelings or playing to your swelling ego? Stop cannibalizing time. Invite only the key stakeholders. Invited stakeholders can elect to invite others on their team as needed. The ability of a group to make a decision is exponentially decreased as the number of attendees is increased. Invite people only based on their value in the meeting.
3. DECLINE any meeting invite that doesn’t have a clear mission and agenda. Every meeting attendee must know why they are going to a meeting: a) what is the mission of this meeting and b) what is the outcome as a result of us spending this time together. If it isn’t, then request it. Know the value you are supposed to bring to the meeting. Secondly, if you don’t receive an agenda within 48 hours of the meeting, then you have a right to request it, or decline the meeting.
4. START on time, even if everyone isn’t there yet. You want people to show up on time? Begin without them. WARNING: You must be on time as well….
5. NEVER ask or ALLOW “WHAT DID I MISS?” Do not let stragglers commandeer control of the floor. Do not aggravate, punish and disrespect the other people in your conference. Do not rehash what has already been discussed.
Meetings are cornerstones of collaboration, inspiration and results. How you prepare, facilitate and follow up on them make all the difference.
“Start the New Year right!” Jon says. Issue new “Ground Rules for Meetings” that contain the following requirements:
1. Meetings must have a clear focus. The first five minutes is dedicated to stating the clear objective and desired outcome of the meeting.
2. The default meeting length is to be 15 minutes. Whoever wrote the rule that meetings have to be 30 minutes or an hour should be fired. Schedule 15 minutes meetings, get in, get to the point and get out.
3. Meetings shall not be held to just review material. Materials shall be reviewed before any meetings are held. If material has not been reviewed, then no meeting shall be held. If the material has not been reviewed at the time the meeting begins, then the meeting shall be cancelled and rescheduled.
4. Meeting shall be used to resolve, develop and interact creatively and amicably.
5. Meeting presenters are not allowed to prepare in FRONT of the audience. They must come prepared or not come at all.
6. There are no meetings on Fridays or Mondays. Instead use these days to get everything done for next week.
7. Meetings are now technology enabled. Make all of your meetings Wi-FI fully accessible, cell phones out and on (set to vibrate, of course), texting encouraged, agendas, supplemental materials, and visuals provided on the web, exclusively, all resources and iPads (and other netbooks)-friendly, BUT must be used to serve the purpose of the meeting. In other words, the meeting is about to begin, please make sure your phones are out and on (right next to the meeting facilitators Taser device). No hiding them under the table. Violators may be shocked immediately for failure to abide by meeting rule requirements.