Ah… Meetings!  Meetings are probably the most natural things to do in an organization.  And for many, if you are a a manager, then you should call meetings.   You should organize meetings, schedule meetings.  everybody is doing meetings, has always been doing meetings, so they must be a good thing.  It is that simple.  Right?

No! I say “No, it is not that simple”

Many meetings are a total waste of time.  Many are badly organized, last too long, have too many attendees who could be doing other productive things instead of participating in the meeting.  And that is assuming that the meeting is set up in a way that they can actually participate.

I remember 13 years ago starting a project in a large organization.  I was in the elevator, and listening to others discussing the workload.  It was Friday.  It went something like this:

“We are so busy.  It is Friday and we still have so many things to do.  On Monday, we had this meeting.  On Tuesday that meeting.  On Wednesday it was the staff meeting, then on Thursday this other meeting.  Can you meet this afternoon to discuss the backlog?”

I couldn’t help thinking that maybe there would be no backlog if the employees could work instead of being forced to attend so many meetings.

Meetings can be useful, but  you have to be very disciplined and organized, and only use meeting when appropriate.  And please ensure that they are chaired appropriately.

This article for Forbes is a good one on meeting from

Miserable Meetings No More

Do you spend your life in meetings?  If you do, chances are that many or even most of them are boring, off-point, and too long.  In other words, they get in the way of real work.
I especially like the end:
Keep in mind Herbert Hoover’s test for a good meeting:  “When the outcome of a meeting is to have another meeting, it’s been a lousy meeting.”