Meetings and Communication – Short and On-Time!

Meetings and Communication should be short and on time!

"Holding meetings" is a misunderstood concept. When we say that regular meetings are necessary for effective communication, it does not mean that one has to find extra days to fit them in. This is why many managers don’t like meetings.

Most meetings waste more time than they should. Why? Because they are not planned properly. The majority of meetings in companies could be cut by 50%. The presentations are usually too long, move too slowly and contain redundant material.

In writing, the key to good writing is "edit, edit, edit -- each time slashing off 20% until there is nothing to slash off any more. In the same way presentations for meetings should be prepared.

What normally happens in companies is the one calling the meeting goes over the scheduled time; there is no justification for that, no matter how one makes it out to sound. A meeting that goes beyond its announced time at any point, simply means the one holding the meeting has no control of it and has not prepared for it.

Meetings must be kept on schedule. They simply must! Even for bosses. Some time ago, I was present in a department meeting that was called by the director of a large department. People gathered in, the group built up in numbers, but the director didn't show up. After some fifteen minutes, people started to ask what was going on and the secretary went out to make a phone call. She returned to say that he was on his way.

When he arrived he simply said that he had completely forgotten. Where do they get that? They read somewhere that they should be honest and truthful with their people -- problem is these things are taken and practiced out of context.

Yes, the new management style is to be honest and truthful but this means with appropriate behaviour -- in this case, we have to make sure we're on time for our own meetings as managers. Saying you forgot you had called a meeting is not a way to lead by example and train people.

Here were twenty-some people being trained that you can be late for meetings and it doesn't matter, all we have to say is "I'm sorry, I forgot".

That’s the first lesson… in the next blog, wait and see what happened next!


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