This week I had the pleasure of running a meeting with a group of department heads. The topic of our discussion was All About Meetings. Prior to the meeting, one of the b2b sales managers did the math to determine how much it costs (time off the streets) to have all of the salespeople on his team attend an hour long meeting. The title to this blog post doesn’t even begin to cut it – the cost was in the $60,000.00 range – for one hour.
I then posed this question and asked them to respond by a show of hands: How many of you believe that the meetings you have are very important, yet you go to meetings that you believe are a waste of your time? As you might imagine, all hands shot up in the air.
The executive coaching I was delivering to the team is that it's not that the information being disseminated isn't important – but is a meeting the best way to distribute the information?
According to Forbes magazine, "Meetings can be the bane of corporate life. In one survey, a whopping 85 percent of executives said they were dissatisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings at their companies."
So how do you decide?
"The best way to determine whether a meeting is a good idea is to ask whether the transfer of information is one-way," says J. S. O'Rourke IV, a professor of management at Notre Dame University. "If it is, e-mail – or some other form of communication - will usually suffice."
That's a start, but as I mentioned to the group I was in front of the other day, it's pretty hard to sit around a table and call everyone else's baby ugly. So this challenge starts with you. If your meeting is a one way transfer of information – think of another way to distribute what you need people to know. No more data dumping.
Unless you have money to burn.