How To Make Meetings Meaningful

Written by
DaQuall Graham

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Meetings are an integral part of running businesses and organizations. In these fluid times, meetings are happening more often, and increasingly happening through video platforms.

But are we meeting, or simply gathering? What is the goal of our meetings? Do we accomplish more than discussion and information sharing when meeting? Is the purpose of our meetings clear? Are there times during meetings where we wonder “what was the point of this meeting?” Could the whole meeting have been condensed into an email?

According to SurveyMonkey, the biggest challenge team members face in meetings is off-topic conversations.

Insource understands the premium and value of time, especially in our newly decompartmentalized and seemingly boundary-less lives. If time is valuable, then meetings must value our time.

After shifting to working from home, weekly meeting time jumped 10%, translating to an average of three additional meetings per week per employee. Roughly 70% of employees experienced at least some increase in meetings. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, a survey of 182 senior managers across multiple industries in the US found:

  • 65% said meetings keep them from completing their work
  • 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient
  • 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking
  • 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together

There are tactical strategies to make meetings meaningful, productive, and collaborative. It is critical to comprehend why one needs to meet, what one is meeting about, when the best time to meet is, and how to lead meetings. Meaningful meetings with measurable outcomes are possible, often necessary, and are far more vital in remote environments.

Most communication is informational or transactional. Informational communication is a transference of information. Many informational items that do not require decisions or discussions do not necessitate meetings. However, transactional communications often require a continuous exchange, discussion, or the consideration of multiple perspectives, requiring a full meeting. The staples of running effective meetings come from appropriate agendas and outcome goals.

At Insource, we often recommend a metacognitive approach through Benjamin Bloom and Robert Marzano’s taxonomy to craft outcome-based meeting agendas, with actionable and measurable objectives. Whether you are a CEO or new manager, this customizable technique allows anyone to create a clear roadmap and design outcomes for meetings, including what attendees and facilitators are responsible for contributing or produce, leaving everyone with a sense of purpose at the meeting. Properly planned and executed meetings can become a life-giving force and source of pleasure to companies and organizations. We cannot add time to our days, but we can make our time and days count.

If you find yourself challenged to organize purposeful, effective meetings, we can help! Insource often provides meeting design or meeting facilitation support to assure goals are met, ensuring participants are actively engaged throughout and meeting goals are met. If you are interested in learning more about meeting design and facilitation, contact us at info@insourceservices.com.