While anyone who is in charge of a business or in any leadership position might understand that meetings in general are important, not everyone knows much more than that. In short, a meeting is seen as a time to come together and touch base between people who know something, and those who need to know something, but without even realizing it meetings can turn out poorly. Studies show that a poorly planned meeting might not only be ineffective, but that meeting might be negatively effective to the participants as well as the meeting leader(s). It’s important to understand a few things before your next meeting so that you can better prepare your team to get the job done the right way and not cause any problems instead.
Timing can be a major issue. Not only are the times when meetings conducted a major player, but the length of the meeting can be a major factor as well. Furthermore, if you are a larger company that deals in multiple time zones, multiple coasts, or even mutiple countries, you truly are at a disadvantage. The important thing is realizing that no matter what the timing is, you have to be sure it works for you and your employees.
Too long of a meeting can be a drag and minimize productivity, and too short of a meeting can minimize the ability for collaboration. In the long run, short meetings can actually become more a joke and employees might not take them seriously. They may also end up feeling like their input isn’t valued and therefore might not even prepare or offer suggestions on how to improve. Meanwhile, the long meetings might seem more like sabotage as employees who aren’t key will only be thinking about how much work they are missing out on by simply being stuck in a meeting.
The reason that meetings were once so popular was because a meeting represented different people from different divisions, areas, towns, or even countries coming together. The truth is that those days are pretty much outdated altogether. With software such as facetime or skype, in as little as a few seconds you can be face to face with another employee (or more than one in group meetings) in as little time as it takes to dial a phone number in a software application. Some companies that are large will even use things like skype to try and communicate with their employees rather than even ask them to come to a different floor or wing of the house.
Another important part to remember for the psychology of what meetings accomplish (or fail to accompish) is what the net benefit is. The truth you need to ask yourself before you call a meeting (or continue a meeting), is whether or not the meeting will add benefit. If you call a meeting for even an hour, you not only have to account for paying for that employee for the full hour, but potentially even longer. What about the few minutes they take to stop doing other tasks and start preparing for the meeting, and then the travel time it takes to go back and forth? There are mathematical and financial costs associated with the meeting, and that’s before you even account for the one hour your employee will be away from their desk and unavailable to do their job by responding to general work, incoming calls, and etc.
You are already starting to see all of the different ways that business meetings need to be looked at and you’ve only just scratched the surface. It may only be a simple thing to you, but just because it’s the way it’s always been done, it doesn’t mean that the process can’t still be improved upon!