5 Common Complaints About Meetings and What to Do About Them (3/5)
3. Most of our meetings are just passing along information that could easily be sent in an email. We don’t talk about real issues.
Spending 10 to 15 minutes of a 90-minute meeting on updates isn’t a big deal. Spending 90 minutes sharing information that could be communicated by other means is a problem. How can you raise this issue to the meeting organizer? Here’s some suggested language:
Brenda, I know you have high expectations for our group. Meetings are the primary way that we tap into the wisdom of the group and make strategy happen. My sense is that you want to respect the time and talent in the room, and it seems to me that we could do that by ensuring that most of our time together is spent on topics that require the thinking and alignment of the group, and that we keep information sharing to a minimum. What do think?
Then offer to canvas the team each week and develop a list of topics from which you can craft an agenda. These questions will help you identify possible topics:
- What does this group need to talk about?
- What are our vital initiatives — which are in jeopardy?
- What do we need to learn?
- What do we need to develop a mutual understanding about?
- What are we losing sleep over?
For each topic, suggest desired outcomes and the time needed to achieve them. If you do good work on an issue or two in each meeting, time spent sharing information will be less of a burden.
Paul Axtell is an author, speaker, and corporate trainer. He is the author of two award-winning books: Meetings Matter and the recently released second edition of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids. He has developed a training series, Being Remarkable, which is designed to be led by managers or HR specialists.