Meetings can be amazing so why are most not?

meetings can be amazing

When you bring a group of people together the results can be amazing. So why is the feedback we get on meetings universally negative?

Meetings can be amazing but people hate meetings, that’s certainly the feedback we get from the countless companies we’ve worked with over the years. The idea of constant meetings fills most people with dread because they know what will happen. The meeting will amble, no clear conclusions will be drawn, Dave from finance will go off on a tangent!

We’ve lost the ability to have good productive meetings because we simply have too many. Technology has transformed business but in some areas, meetings, it’s actually made it too easy to have them. Like any drug we’ve embraced this full steam and in some cases employees are spending nearly 50% of their working week in meetings. That’s not healthy and it’s certainly not productive.

Why are meetings bad

Some of the common complaints about meetings:

  • They happen too often
  • The conversation gets dominated by a few individuals
  • They lack purpose and goals
  • Outcomes and next steps aren’t well defined
  • An environment where real ideas can flourish is absent

This is just a snapshot there are a lot more reasons why meetings fail. But, happily there are some really simple things we can do to fix it.

OBVIOUS Amazemeet plug!!

The meeting canvas is somewhat of a foolproof way to get to better meetings but the lessons can be adopted regardless. The crux of good meetings is organisation; the right attendees, clear outcomes and objectives, time allotted to discuss specific problems and a meeting facilitator to stick to the plan.

That maybe sounds like a lot for your next meeting so introduce things a step at a time. A really simple, but effective, first step is to say no to meetings. If it’s unclear why or how you will add value to a meeting just don’t go. It’s pretty easy to tell the organiser that you won’t add value as the meeting isn’t relevant to you. It’s a pretty empowering step to take but it might actually encourage others to do the same and then hopefully you’ll cut down on meetings and start having the ones you need.

Whatever the situation know this. Meetings can be amazing, recognising it’s a problem in your corporate culture is the first step to fixing it and taking back control of your working time and having the meetings you need.

Amazemeet can help, try it out it’s 100% free.

Amazemeet is getting better.

Amazemeet is getting better

Wow the last couple of years have been crazy. So many meetings!

Wait a minute aren’t we all about cutting down on unnecessary meetings?

Well yeah but not all meetings are unnecessary in fact meetings can be amazing but on the whole we’ve lost sight of this. In fact we’ve made it so easy to have meetings any time anywhere that they’ve become like a millstone on our working time.

Amazemeet is here to help.

We’re here to take you on a journey to effectiveness, efficiency is great but we’ve got that now, it’s part of the fabric. So let’s pull our socks up and start getting effective!

When we launched the software we had a simple mission:

“To make meetings better”

But what does this mean?

Too many tech companies talk about better, but better is never truly defined, that’s not the case with Amazemeet. At Amazemeet better means more effective, better means getting the outcomes we want from the meetings we have.

Where meetings are concerned for some of us this means unlocking the potential in the 50% or so of our time spent in meetings. Whether that’s making them more efficient, having the right attendees to contribute to the goal or simply setting out what we want to achieve.

Our software has been designed to do just this and it’s getting better.

Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out a whole bunch of new features designed to make Amazemeet easier to use and easier to organise great meetings. We’d love you to try them out and tell us what you think. Sign-up below and we’ll keep you updated as we roll out Level-2 and you can try all the new features for yourself.

Together we can make meetings better for everyone!

The addiction of meetings, how to break the cycle.

It’s official we’re addicted to meetings. We have reached the zenith of meeting culture, in some organisations employees spend at least 50% of their time in meetings. It’s become somewhat of a joke at certain organisations, like the BBC in the UK, where some employees entire working week is spent in endless rounds of meetings with little notion of effectiveness or concrete outcomes.

Technology has done us no favours simply making “the drug” more accessible and more easy to schedule than ever before. Like all addictions we know it’s bad for us but we do it anyway. Management research is almost uniformly hostile towards endless meetings but in this age of post truth and post facts we carry on regardless failing to have the better meetings we strive for.

Meetings have variously been described as the “silent productivity killers” but this belies the fact that from time to time they do need to happen. Actions needs to be discussed and outcomes agreed and this often works best when a collective of minds come together. In fact meetings can be amazing, they’re not, but that’s where Amazemeet comes in.

 

 

So how do we break the cycle of something we are so deeply addicted to?

 

One of the major culprits in ineffective meetings is the lack of an agenda. It seems kinda obvious but so many meetings take place without a clear idea of why?

The agenda goes hand in hand with the outcomes. Without a clear idea of what is being discussed and what decisions need to be made meetings can be like meandering down the river on lazy Sunday afternoon.

Often overlooked, how many times have you sat in a meeting thinking I really don’t need to be here or worse I really shouldn’t be here? It’s become culturally normal for purposeless meetings to be called simply as a way of exerting management control or even worse as de facto therapy sessions, inviting as many people as possible to the theatre. Just think if you spend 2 hours a week in one of these that’s over 2 weeks starring at a colleague who is probably thinking the same thing.

You need a way to say no. Or to be more precise you need a way to say no that actually benefits what the meeting is trying to achieve.

 

Can we actually change this?

 

Like any cultural shift it’s not going to be easy. But then we got used to using our phones to book cabs instead of standing on the sidewalk with our arm held out.

We believe the key lies in outcomes. Demonstrable better outcomes from following a process and a format to have more effective meetings will be the real driver. When you can genuinely say:

That meeting was productive

I didn’t attend that meeting, I got on with my tasks and the meeting was better for it.

When we meet we know things will move forward.

We meet less and more effectively and we’re a happier company for it.

Then we know we are moving forward. That kind of sentiment can’t be ignored. In fact I bet there’s a lot of people who will want some of that.

 

Amazemeet is building a community and a platform to make meetings better. Be a part of this sign-up below.

Making Brainstorming Work; CEO of Medium on How To End Meetings

brainstorm

Making Brainstorming Work

Image: jeanbaptisteparis 

To make brainstorming work, have two meetings to determine “what to do” and then “how to do it”.

Brainstorming if not properly conducted can waste time and creative juice.

To make it work, leadership influencer Dan Rockwell has a tip: Successful brainstorming calls for two meetings.

The first meeting is a “What might we do” meeting.

The second is a “How might we do it” meeting.

Divide the efforts and focus maximises creativity and follow through. 

Originally from the blog of Dan Rockwell

Tell Me What You Heard

hearing-ear

Image credit: Paul Townsend

Explaining something to someone and not sure they got it – simply ask them to tell you what they understood you said.

In some cultures, the concept of “saving face” is very important.

Sometimes in meetings, when a person explains something and others don’t quite understand, they wouldn’t ask because they don’t want to be thought of as slow, lack of knowledge, or being distracted.

In other cases, it’s simply misunderstanding.

The consequences: misalignment, unclear expectations, may lead to recurring meetings in the future.

As you explain something to someone, make sure they got it by asking them to say what they have understood from you.

How To End A Meeting

end-meeting

Image: Robert McGoldrick 

At the end of the meeting, have a “closing round” to give each participant a chance to comment on the meeting and know where the group is at. At the end of meetings, have a closing round to give each person a chance to comment on the meeting. h/t @ev Click To Tweet

Ev Williams, CEO of Medium has a wonderful idea: The facilitator/host goes around the room asking everyone to make comments, say how they feel about what were discussed.

This allows people to get things off their chest and receive feedback about how the meeting can be improved. They might come up with ideas/ issues that are worth noted but otherwise ignored.

At Amazemeet, we have a section called “Off topics” so these points can be recorded – have you tried that?

Closing rounds can also get the ones who didn’t have a chance contribute to voice their thoughts. And most of all, these rounds can be fun and positive they”re a great way to better meetings.

So try that out and let us know how it went!

Originally published by Ev Williams, CEO of Medium