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2 Steps to Make Meetings Meaningful: A Resolution for All

As New Year’s resolutions go, universal adoption of the Golden Rule would arguably make the most positive impact on the world. But I’d argue that universal adoption of making all meetings meaningful would be a close 2nd! Think of it: 2018, the year when meetings matter — not only matter but actually contribute to your well being.

No surprise that I’ve participated in and led a ton of meetings across countless contexts. And yes, in some cases mostly endured them. Whether it’s on the clock for a client project, it’s part of my service on a nonprofit board, or it’s internal at work, a meeting that feels like one where you’re meeting to meet because you’re scheduled to meet for the meeting is the suckiest of time sucks.

It’s like the meetings that are bad (and all too common) age you in dog years.

Why don’t more meetings take full advantage of the collective brainpower and perspectives in the room, across the webcast, or on the conference line? IOW, why aren’t all (or even most) meetings meaningful?

Simply asking two questions will go a long way toward resolving the issues that make for a meaningless meeting.

  1. What are the desired outcomes? IOW, what should participants understand and/or do better as a result of the meeting? Sometimes, too, a meeting’s desired outcomes might extend beyond knowing and doing to include influencing feeling — the classic pep talk is but one example.
  2. Is meeting necessary? How will participants’ being together (physically or virtually) enhance the ability to achieve the desired outcomes? Addressing this question may naturally lead to the question: is meeting together even necessary?  

If you care to join me in my quest for universal adoption of my New Year’s Resolution to make meetings more meaningful, address these questions and/or insist (in the ways that you can) that meeting organizers address these questions. 

We are all busy. Our time is precious. Is it too much to expect that interactions are meaningful and worth our time and attention? Yes, even meetings.

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