I have attended a lot of worthless meetings over the years—meetings that just end up wasting your time, and which don’t really seem to have a point to them. It was doubly frustrating when I knew that the meetings could have been useful and meaningful, but they were just conducted poorly.
Nowadays, with freelancing, my meetings are so much better, and I cringe when I think about how many hours of my life were wasted by attending useless meetings.
If you’re not sure about whether your meetings are worthwhile or worthless, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1) How do you feel at the end of the meeting?
Are you energized? Do you walk away feeling excited about your work? How do you feel about the people you just met with? Do you feel good about the project, and empowered to perform well?
If you feel bored, confused, or nervous by the end of the meeting, that’s probably not a good sign.
2) Do you have actionable steps that you can take when you walk away from the meeting?
This is where so many meetings fail. They’ll have plenty of great brainstorming, but then it all just peters out and everyone goes off on their own directions, without a concrete plan to move forward.
Even if you think it’s silly, take some time at the end of each meeting to recap what you just went over and the decisions you made, and be sure to write down what your next steps are (as well as what the next steps are for your colleagues if their actions will affect your work!). Otherwise, you all run the risk of walking away and promptly forgetting about any actions you are all supposed to take… or, worse, you just won’t make any concrete action plans.
Always create a list of actionable steps at the end of every meeting #productivitytip
3) Did the meeting enable you to connect with your colleagues in meaningful ways?
If the meeting does nothing but foster stronger relationships with you and your colleagues, I still call that a win. There needs to be good rapport between everyone if the project is going to succeed.
If you struggle to communicate your thoughts and feelings during meetings, this will be a big problem. Use meetings as an opportunity to connect with the people around you and get to know them a little better.