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I have mixed feelings about meetings. I love the camaraderie, brainstorming and ideas that come from them; however, not every one of them is like that. Meetings used to be a problem at my church; however, after much discernment and discussion the number, length and productivity of them has greatly improved.
When it comes to when, and why we meet many of us find ourselves filled with raw emotion. Maybe you loathe meetings because they’ve consumed countless hours of your day, or you’ve experienced one too many awkward discussions. Maybe meetings make you tense because the culture in your staff could be better and putting everyone in the same room is like a ticking time bomb.
While there are a few meetings you have to attend, I’m willing to bet if you really wanted to, you could find a reason to miss. And just in case you don’t have one, I have three that you could give a try.
Reason #1: There Is No Agenda
Don’t meet just to meet. Many of us will have regularly scheduled meetings; but, if there is no agenda or topic to discuss, feel free to reschedule or cancel altogether. If you are leading the meeting, you don’t have to force a get together for get together sake. Agenda-less meetings will only build resentment and frustration, make your team happy by giving them a little margin.
Reason #2 : It Can Be Communicated In An Email
Before planning any meeting, ask yourself, “Can this be written in an email? If the answer is yes, then take advantage and end the email giving people permission to call or email you with further questions. This is especially effective if what you need to communicate is with people who don’t work in your church.
Reason #3: Your House Is On Fire
No one will hold it against you if you have to run out on a meeting because your house is on fire. Maybe there is that one guy out there, but chances are he’s a jerk. So if someone calls your cell to let you know:
- The house is on fire.
- Your dog is being held ransomed.
- The body snatchers took over your family.
- Or one of the Baldwin brothers is signing photos at your mall.
Know that “this guy” isn’t judging you. But, in all seriousness, know your priorities and if a family, work or personal emergency arises, step out knowing you are doing the right thing.
Now, I don’t recommend that you cancel and reschedule as many meetings as possible because of these three rock hard excuses. There are going to be times when you have to meet; however, if you find that you are in a lot of mundane and pointless ones, look at changing up the structure. For example:
- Instead of having everyone sit down, conduct the meeting standing up, people will want to get to the point quicker.
- Plan and print out an agenda, so that people can stay on track.
- Give the meeting a start and finish time, so that people know not to make the most of what they have.
- Don’t feel like you have to fill the time slot. Most meetings are slotted for 30-60 minutes; however, content usually only takes a few minutes to cover. End early and enjoy the margin.
Meetings can be important and necessary, it’s our lack of preparation and thought that will make them ugly. If you can plan out your meetings properly, make them purposeful and productive, people won’t groan when you send them a Save The Date.
What other reasons would you suggest for canceling or making a meeting more productive?