Why I Secretly Love Meetings

My day often is consumed by meetings. How about your day?

I decided a few months ago to take a hard look at the meetings to determine if they were necessary. I read an article that outlines the three functions of a meeting, which are —

  1. To inform and bring people up to speed.
  2. To seek input from people.
  3. To ask for approval.

I quickly realized that while our team meeting was needed to inform and bring people up to speed, we didn’t need to hold it weekly. Now we meet twice a month and all team members contribute to the agenda in advance. If there are no items that need to be discussed, the meeting is cancelled.

When others request that I attend a meeting I ask what the expected outcome of the meeting is. If they can’t tell me that, I decline the meeting. I’ve also learned to avoid back-to-back meetings. I build in 30 minutes after a meeting so that I can follow-up on the items that I need to. It’s helped me to stay focused and to advance projects. It also enables me to have time to think and reflect about what was discussed in the meeting.

Despite all this, I still attend a lot of meetings. Turns out I may secretly love meetings. According to Ron Ashkenas, managing partner of Shaffer Consulting, many managers secretly like meetings because they

  1. Encourage social interaction
  2. Keep everyone in the loop
  3. Often represent status

I’m not worried about status, but meetings do provide me with social interaction across divisions and keeps me in the loop. So as I continue to work to streamline meetings, I’ll accept the reality that I am a secret lover of meetings.

How do you feel about meetings?