Ah the staff meeting…what we’ve been led to believe is the lifeblood of any prosperous company. Take a quick moment to ask yourself how many meetings (Zoom or in person) you’ve attended in the last month in which you asked yourself, “what am I doing here?”.
If you’re like many of us in the business world, you spend a lot of time in meetings and all you can think about is the work waiting for you when the meeting finally ends. Not to mention any additional work added to your plate as a result of the meeting!
The worst type of meetings are the ones that could easily be an email instead! Before you decide to call a staff meeting of any kind, ask yourself the following questions:
What goal am I trying to meet?
Is your goal a frank discussion or brainstorming session in the context of a project? That can often be the type of conversation that could be more effective as a meeting.
Maybe your goal is more company-wide. Do you need to update your staff about a policy change, share a company announcement, or introduce a new hire? Most of those types of communications could be simply solved by sending a memo-style email to everyone who would find it to be relevant.
A possible goal could be team bonding, which can be a completely legitimate goal. If team bonding is your goal, just make sure it’s clear to everyone participating.
Chatting about company business or telling an inspiring story and then ending the meeting does not equal a bonding experience. If you want your team to bond then make sure the meeting or time is set up for discussion and activities that can accomplish that goal.
Does this meeting really need to happen, or could I just write an email?
When you’re asking yourself whether you should call a meeting or send an email, keep the following in mind. Meetings should be used for productive debate, discussion, and provide information to help you make decisions.
Meetings are not effective if they are used for status check-ins, upper management monologues, and staff announcements.
How much is this meeting going to cost the company, after I add up everyone’s salary, hourly rates, length of the meeting and loss of productivity?
Once you start to run those numbers, the actual cost of an hour-long meeting can skyrocket! Even if you end up deciding to schedule a meeting, try to do some of the legwork ahead of time. Email those involved to make sure everyone comes prepared and there is a clear agenda so you can move through the meeting efficiently and get the results you need.
Are we discussing things that are frankly someone else’s responsibility?
It can be tempting to jump into a meeting to discuss a project or process that affects you and your team. But before you do, make sure you aren’t stepping into an area where someone else is responsible!
Unproductive meetings can often be blamed on having “too many cooks in the kitchen”. For example, calling a meeting for the entire executive management team to weigh in on new marketing strategies.
The marketing director clearly has the responsibility to research and propose a new strategy. Is a meeting like that really necessary as part of the process? Usually the answer is no. All meetings like that do is create more work for your marketing director and cause confusion.
Unnecessary Meetings Can Damage Morale
On top of wasting time and potentially costing your organization money, unnecessary meetings can damage employee morale.
“We only have meetings so our boss can hear himself talk.”
“I don’t even bother taking notes in meetings anymore because nothing we talk about ever gets done.”
“That meeting was totally pointless. We all know who will actually make the final decision. Why pretend to consider our opinion?”
Ever heard these comments after a meeting, or made them yourself? Constantly pulling your staff away from their work to attend meetings that aren’t 100% necessary damages morale and productivity. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout your workplace and damage your entire company culture.
Remember, before you go ahead and schedule that staff meeting, ask yourself:
- What is the goal of this meeting?
- Do I need to actually call a staff meeting to meet this goal?
If you decide a meeting is necessary, be sure to set a clear length of time and agenda before inviting staff to attend. After the meeting is over, be sure to send everyone who attended notes and action items so you can avoid having the same meeting again next month!
Chances are that if you don’t send an agenda before the meeting or notes aren’t sent out afterwards, you wasted time and likely cost your business money.
Ready To Go Deeper?
If you’d like to go deeper into this topic or need help with your professional management, Veritas Professional Development is committed to helping you become the best at what you do!