Meetings Suck! Make them Great Again!

May 27, 2024 •

Meetings suck. We dread them, shudder at the thought of them, and quite frankly prefer their alternatives. We can make meetings great again or at the very least fun. Here's why meetings suck and how I've rectified it in my team.

Why meetings suck

Experience has shown me that meetings suck for several reasons.

The Speaker's Podcasts

One reason that I'm guilty of is talking and talking a lot. Meetings usually have one dominant speaker with the rest sitting quietly. It comes off as a monologue of instructions and directives with no hope of respite. This type of interaction is far from productive for everyone except the speaker. It's far from productive for the monologuing speaker too. I have been known to go on and on. This is something I'm reigning back.

These meetings become boring to everyone involved and much isn't accomplished if any. The conversations revolve around the work and no work is done. This defeats the purpose of having an organization with qualified employees. Talking about the work is less fun than actually doing it. I'm a big proponent of walking the talk and that's why long and monotonous meetings are the worst.

Long Unproductive Meetings

Sitting and listening to someone give their life story is one thing. Spending the entire day listening to them and getting things done is another. Combine the two and you have the worst day ever also known as Mondays. My wit aside, long meetings are the bane of my existence. They are tiring, boring, and have no value to us. They are one of the most loathed dynamics of the work environment and with good reason. I hate spending hours on conversations that don't add value to our work or company. I hate spending hours on anything in general. 

Efficiency is something I value. Long meetings go against all of this and more. Deciding whether something contributes to the team's success shouldn't take ages. Long meetings are the worst and I'm glad that's not a personal opinion. I have written an article with tools to help with productivity.

Read: 7 Best Productivity Tools and Productivity apps for Remote Teams 2024

Make Meetings Great

This is what I do to make my meetings worthwhile. 

Have Short Meetings

I've recently implemented a maximum meeting length of 10 minutes. It was 15 minutes but I docked 5 minutes to make them more effective. I prepare for these meetings and so do my employees. These meetings are specific for discussing ideas, learning aspects of the projects, and giving project progress. We discuss vital agendas and focus on the goals of the project. 

These short meetings have improved our productivity and have helped us fix many issues we previously had. A long meeting lacks direction and clear objectives. Get your agendas sorted and prepared for the meeting. This will help you get things in order, increase productivity, and improve output. You haven't done your best if the talking points can't be discussed in the allocated time. Ineffective and inefficient meetings can be sorted with these simple changes. 

Invite only the relevant Participants

I only invite the relevant participants to the meetings. This ensures we stay focused on the right task and objectives. Combined meetings with people from different sectors allow the meeting to follow numerous directions. I have meetings with all my employees. Each has a 10-minute timeslot to discuss project variables, deliverables, and progress. This allows us to keep to the point, and handle hurdles that arise. 

Combined meetings waste everyone's time. They don't promote critical analysis and follow an amateur approach. Time is a resource that cannot be recovered. I value my time and the principle dictates I should value my employees' time. Making this adjustment has helped us get everything in order and improve the efficiency and output within our team. It's one of the principles that have ensured our strong drive and motivation are maintained. Many people in the meeting will cause distractions. Make the numbers lean and see the best results. 

Comment When Required

Meetings are for your employees to give you a run-down of things. Managers and team leaders should sit and listen keenly. I've struggled with this but I'm learning as I go. My meetings have become more productive since I chose to take a step back. I let my employees guide the direction of the meeting, give their takes, and provide progress reports and data analysis. 

I ask questions and give my thoughts when necessary. This approach has allowed us to solve pending issues within the team and given us vital insights into avenues we wanted to pursue. I can give proper feedback and guidance as I get the full picture of everything happening. It is a skill I'm still developing but the results make it worth following. Allow your employees to give you all the information before giving your views. It will give you all you need to lead them in the right direction. There's one strategy I've implemented that's drastically changed our meetings. I've written an article that details how to improve communication within remote teams.

Read: 7 Tips for Effective Communication in Remote Teams

Asynchronous Feedback

Asynchronous feedback allows us to give feedback on tasks and projects without the need to convene and discuss them. It is a huge timesaver, allowing us to handle various hurdles efficiently. It uses video to ensure understanding and productivity are maintained. It is a good supplement and at times alternative to meetings. Since I implemented it in my team, we've used meetings to discuss administrative tasks and objectives. Project details and progress are now done using asynchronous feedback. You can learn how to implement asynchronous feedback in your team by reading the article below.

Read: Feedback with Asynchronous Video: Productivity with Screen Recording!

We've saved a lot of meeting time that we've used to improve frameworks in our content and development teams. This has allowed us to have effective meetings that make a difference in our team. An example of screen recording software is Loom. It worked well but didn't give the results we needed. I resorted to creating VideoFeedbackr.  VideoFeedbackr is the screen recording software I developed to facilitate asynchronous feedback in my team. We give feedback hassle-free, creating excellent content and software. Everyone has the videos with them and can refer to them. It's a free tool and my bias says it's the best. We designed it to solve the issues that plagued other screen recording software on the market. Try it and see the benefits it has to offer you. 

Take Aways

Meetings suck because they aren't properly structured. They tend to be too long, dominated by one person, and without a clear direction. This is a false reality that can be altered with a few changes. Making them short, with clear objectives, and a listening ear can transform them from one of the most loathed elements of business into one of the most valuable. You don't need expert input to do this. 

My meetings have improved with these small alterations. You can too by implementing these little changes. 


Why are meetings one of the most loathed elements of business?

They are generally long, boring, and without purpose. They feel like a waste of time to many making them hard to like and enjoy. 

How can we make meetings one of the most valuable elements of a business?

Improving the meetings helps. Make them shorter, more direct, and more productive. They'll become more appreciated as time goes on in this state. 

How can we prepare for meetings?

Identify the topic, note the vital aspects, and write a summary. Then get views and suggestions from your colleagues or superiors. This saves everyone's time and ensures productivity. 

How can we improve productivity in meetings?

We can improve meetings by ensuring all agendas are planned and aligned with the primary topic. Preparation makes it an easy process. 

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