If you have been stuck in unproductive meetings where your precious time is spent discussing what could have been agreed on in 10 minutes or on issues that could have been solved by email; then you and I have the same issue with this syndrome of “Too many meetings”
I am constantly surprised how many meetings I have been invited to, that have no clear agenda or where one single person would completely take over the meeting, and, as a result drag it on for hours without yielding to any positive results.
No surprise then, that the new form of response we often receive from people who are never available is the famous “Sorry, I was in a Meeting”.
This excuse has become the norm and is seriously affecting the productivity of many organizations because we spend too much time in meetings, trainings, seminars, conferences, workshops etc.
As a trainer, I deal with two types of participants. The first is an enthusiastic bunch of people eager and grateful to be sent to seminars and trainings. They will almost offer a thanksgiving ceremony for being selected to attend my trainings. They are very demanding and want every single slide of the training material so as to share with their colleagues. These people will automatically put on silence their phones and remain concentrated throughout the training.
The second group is simply the opposite of the first on all the above aspects. The venue of the training or seminar is paramount for them because of the quality and quantity of coffee breaks and lunches offered. When these trainings, seminars or conferences involve travelling to other cities or countries, you can be sure this is the same group of people who will almost kill to be on the list of participants. Travelling allowances mean a lot to them.
While working in the hospitality industry, I was always chocked by the number of participants who will leave behind the expensive training/seminar documents given to them. In most cases, they will simply disappear after the lunch breaks to vacate to their own personal activities.
Organizing trainings, meetings, conferences, and seminars etc involve a lot of money. Most organizations spend millions in organizing them in exclusive destinations or hotels as the new trend is to impress and create a “wow factor” in participants.
Much as it is difficult to measure straight away the impact of these meetings and seminars on
the productivity of participants, I strongly believe some of them can yield positive results when
participants take full advantage of them. Trainings and conferences help to upgrade one’s knowledge and offer a conducive forum for networking, sharing and discussing best practices.
This is why it is paramount that participants find time to put into practice what has been learnt and discussed in meetings/conferences before attending new ones. Instead of too many unproductive, unnecessary, unfocused and repetitive meetings, conference and seminars every week spend more time in the DOING and not only in the TALKING.
It is time we stop wasting too many hours on excessive meetings and seminars that take us away
from our businesses. If we spend less time in meetings and more in ACTION, our businesses will yield more positive results.
Also, in any business relations, whenever you are always in meetings trainings, seminars, workshops etc…rather than reassuring the customer, it rather says that you are disorganized if you need excessive meetings to have things done. It even portrays that your organization has the wrong team.
Note that your frequent absence also defines how your organization is perceived by prospects, customers, investors or partners. So before you call for a meeting or go for one, ensure you have a clear agenda with specific items, stay focused, short and practical and move on with ACTIONS.
Maybe you will need to do like this manager who will take away all the chairs out of a meeting room so that everyone stands during meetings. Believe me; his meetings rarely went longer than 15 and they took place only once a fortnight.
The author is a Customer Service Consultant and the Publisher of The Service Mag