Why are we meeting?

“The two words information and communication are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things.Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

– Sydney J. Harris

What do you think about meetings? Think about a recent meeting that you attended. Did it save you time? Or was it a waste of your time?

I hear a lot of groaning and complaining about meetings. Is this a fair description of the meetings at your business?

“Meetings – where minutes are kept and hours are wasted.”

As a manager, do you confuse information with communication? Are you giving out? Or are you getting through? Does your team merely pass along information? Or have they learned how to effectively communicate with each other about what is really important?

Business Week Magazine has an interesting article – “How to Make Meetings Matter” – online. It’s a short article. I recommend that you click through to read it as well as the accompanying eight-step “Playbook.”

Properly structured, meetings are the way the we do business. Properly run, meetings are also the place where a company’s culture is perpetuated. In the Business Week “Case Study,” the C.E.O. of the company that altered its meetings says, “it’s about building a tribe, not broadcasting information.”

 The “classic” article on meetings is – “The Seven Sins of Deadly Meetings – and Seven Seps to Salvation”– by Eric Matson. It was originally published in FastCompany Magazine in 2005. Click through to read it – and learn from it!

The Seven Sins are:

  1. People don’t take meetings seriously
  2. Meetings are too long
  3. People wander off the topic
  4. Nothing happens once the meeting ends
  5. People don’t tell the truth
  6. Meetings are always missing important information, so they postpone critical decisions
  7. Meetings never get better

How many deadly sins did you commit during your meetings this week? At least one, I am sure. What are you going to do about it? Look at Sin #7. You can start by reading Eric Matson’s article. Make that your first step to salvation.

Your team members will thank you for it – by starting to take your meetings seriously – Sin #1. Because they are starting to see that you do!

Please take a few minutes to share your meeting stories with our readers. You can write a meeting “horror” story. Or you can share a meeting “success” story. add you comments below.

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