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What does the number of meetings may tell you?

Many companies have various meetings that are setup to have some kind of reviews, catch ups amongst the team, monthly performance reviews, resolve unplanned roadblocks, discuss something new etc. But what is the normal number of reoccurring meetings? And what exactly you can understand from the number of meetings in the organization?

Every meeting needs to bring value.

When it comes to meeting management often it is forgotten that every meeting should make sure that there is a result or consensus agreed at the end of it. Therefore, there are some key things to think about while planning any meeting:

  1. What is the key reason and key objective that you want to achieve from the meeting?

  2. Who are the participants of the meeting?

  3. What are key roles of each participant?

  4. What is the best way to run the meeting to achieve the result?

  5. How you going to tell the story and drive to the alignment or agreement topic that you want to achieve?

  6. What are the potential follow up steps after the meeting? Yes, you need to think about it in advance, going through various scenarios and be ready for them.

Review, follow up, update meetings often may mean that there are shortcomings in different processes of the organization.

There is no company where you will not find various meetings which has a purpose to keep up to date other parts in the organization. To have those meetings is healthy especially when you are dealing with sensitive topics, strategic questions or trying to make sure that people have a scene where to express the way they feel during tough times. Even that being said, it is important that these meetings do not become the only way of resolving open questions. If you have your agenda packed with update or review meetings on weekly basis, it may mean that company is not super collaborative, but rather that it is struggling with the maturity of the processes, and they are not working as supposed to.

If you find yourself in a situation described above, the best first step to understand how to handle heavy meeting agenda and where to invest time by fixing processes, tools, communications are to start by preparing a meeting registry where you indicate:

  1. purpose of the meeting

  2. objective that you want to achieve with the meeting

  3. amount of attendees

  4. roles of attendees that need to participate

  5. meeting cadence

With the registry you will spot easily: where there is potential duplication, where you should look for a solution rather to send an email instead of gathering all people, which meetings make sense to merge, where process tool is not enabled enough therefore you need a meeting for that, where people need to be trained to understand where this information could be found, etc.

Final thoughts

Having many meetings during the week does not mean that people will collaborate better, it rather means that you will start hearing that there is not enough time to do actual work. To be sure that only meetings with actual value are organized, make sure that every meeting has clear objective to achieve, if it is hard to define the objective, drop the meeting - it means will be waste of time. If you already feel that there are too many meetings running - make a meeting registry - there is nothing worse than pointless, no actual result generating meetings - they not only eat time, but affect people motivation.


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