Attending a decent meeting has never been simple, but the development of remote and hybrid work and Covid-19 epidemic make it more difficult.

A meeting of the minds

Socrates once said that when four or more people gather, someone will be punished. He also was famous for saying that only the gods should hold conclave. Mere mortals are better off living alone in caves. But Socrates never had a business to run. Or a team to work with on a predetermined goal.

Meetings have become a necessary evil in the post pandemic world. Many, if not most, can be done remotely. On Zoom, or some other remote platform. And there are ways to keep them from becoming too annoying.

People from all levels of a firm, including the CEO, will tell you that most meetings are only partially effective even under perfect circumstances. This is a key issue in today’s challenging corporate climate due to the pandemic, labor market upheavals, and diversions, stress, and pressure at home.

Executives and teams simply cannot afford to squander time and resources. Before Covid-19, meetings typically wasted people’s time and rewarded grand-standers and egomaniacs. In 2019, Korn Ferry reported that 51% of workers thought excessive time spent on calls and meetings hampered their effect at work, while 67% stated excessive meetings hindered peak performance.

Only 11% thought every meeting was useful. But, occasionally, a meeting is the most effective approach to get everyone on the same page.

It takes a village to solve a difficult problem.

Meetings can be beneficial, but many fail. Simply said, most meetings are poorly organized or poorly handled.

It’s common for managers to arrange a gathering because they think it’s the right thing to do. The problems of hosting a successful conference have grown as firms experiment with hybrid and remote work models. Here are five methods to make your meetings not only painless but also beneficial to your company:

Avoid Meetings Unless Necessary:

Most importantly, trust your staff. DON’T MICROWAVE

“Check-in” conference calls with no apparent objective tend to be a waste of time, especially if they are timed. Consider if everyone in the room needs to hear from everyone else. If they don’t, everyone should either check-in individually or divide off into smaller working groups.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza rule” states that no more than two pizzas can be provided every meeting.) The worst gatherings are arranged due to a lack of delegation. A competent team with a delegating leader would know how to work and execute successfully without conferencing for meetings’ sake.

Step one: ask yourself, can it be canceled?

Lead the meeting:

The most common meeting blunder is setting a day and time and inviting the team, but then there is a leadership void. Cross-talk, meandering interactions, and difficulty following an agenda can result from unclear leadership. From the minute an invitation is given, it should be apparent who is leading. Who is driving the discourse. The leader should follow a straightforward, unambiguous agenda.

Move the conversation on if someone is droning on. Encourage those you need to hear from but haven’t. If the attendees veer off subject, bring it back on.

If anything deserves additional exploration, bring it up and engage the room.

Shared Purpose: Being in command isn’t simply about calling the shots.

It also entails knowing the meeting’s aim. Any leader should be able to swiftly and effectively communicate the meeting’s purpose, goals, audience, and how it will benefit the firm. If any of these factors is absent, individuals will lose focus. The team will squander time.

No Matter Where or How You Gather:

This may sound counterintuitive. Does it matter where a session is held? No. Through Zoom, conference call, in-person, or any mix of the three. Technical issues like slow internet and faulty speakers might be annoying, but they also highlight the importance of planning and management.

If technological issues threaten to disrupt a meeting, the leader must prepare ahead of time. If someone routinely has technological issues, advise them to plan properly or reconsider having them in this meeting.

Plan Ahead But Not Too Ahead:

Leadership must know how much time each topic requires. Be prepared to manage the discourse if it lags. Too much cramming compromises key elements, whereas too little cramming wastes time.

So a leaders makes an unnecessary presentation. Leave it out. A regular meeting might be finished in half the time. This lowers time on people’s calendars.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!