Meetings: It’s Time They Change The World

Adriana Girdler

Yes, but how? Welcome to my part one of two blogs on meetings to change the world. Talk about an attention grabbing title for an article. …

Yes, but how?

meetings-can-change-the-worldWelcome to my part one of two blogs on meetings to change the world.

Talk about an attention grabbing title for an article. I bet from just reading it you’re expecting something big. It is, something so big and revolutionary that when I tell you, you may not believe it because it will seem so simple and you may just end up saying, “and why are we not doing this now?”

Before I get into this revolutionary, yet simple idea, I first want to explain why we even need to look at revamping meetings. Meetings are a target of many jokes in business. Overall, there’s a frustration of attending unproductive meetings especially when we have back-to-back meetings or worst yet end up meeting all day and not being able to actually do our work because of it.  I’m not saying that all meetings are unproductive but a large amount are. A 2011 survey conducted by CornerStone Dynamics (CSD) found that 42% of respondents said that the meetings they attended where unproductive. Add this to a 2005 US Bureau of Labor Statistic, finding that unproductive meetings costs US businesses 37 billion dollars, you can see we have a problem. Meetings are not going away, and they shouldn’t. A productive meeting brings people together to resolve issues, brainstorm new ideas and allows for business goals and objectives to be met. Meetings are a great collaboration tool.  As per a Verizon commission study “Meetings in America V”, 92% of meeting attendees do value meetings as providing an opportunity to contribute, suggesting that successful meetings may be a contributing factor to employee job satisfaction. So why are meetings the butt of every joke in the corporate world? This is because meetings are not being conducted properly and are being used incorrectly.

When meetings are not used correctly, and are used for information passing only we find the following meeting behaviours. Tell me if you have any of these issues or have done it yourself:

  • Missed parts of meeting
  • Did other work in meeting
  • Had other conversations in meeting via texting
  • Day dreamed in meeting
  • Dozed in meeting

Meetings of value do not have these problems because attendees are engaged.

Updates and task reporting are the main contributing factors to unproductive meetings. Who wants to sit through an update or a checklist rundown on how everyone is doing on their tasks.

There is a belief that technology will resolve our meeting issues. In the same commissioned study, Meetings in America, 89% believe that technology will make meetings easier in the future. I’m going to challenge this. Technology is only a tool. If we still implement these new technological tools with our bad habits, then we will still have unproductive meetings. Think of it like this, if you want to lose weight, a piece of equipment or gym membership will not do it for you. These things are tools. It’s the energy and effort you put into working out at the gym or on the equipment that determines your success. If your heart rate is not increasing then you’re not getting in a good workout and guess what, you will not be losing weight. You can’t blame the gym membership or the equipment, they are only tools, you need to look at your behaviour and the effort or lack of it that you put into your workout. The same is true for meetings.

Want to know how to turn your unproductive meetings into powerhouse meetings, part 2 of this blog: Meetings: Turning The Unproductive Into Productive, will answer just that.

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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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