Another meeting? Oh no!

mr_bill_smWhile technology like TDS’ business hosted VoIP enables the remote worker revolution, there’s still a time and a place for in-person meetings. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like the time is “all of the time” and the place is “wherever is most inconvenient”.

Why the negative attitude about meetings? Surveys show that companies waste an average of 20% of their payroll on bad meetings. So while companies like Yahoo and Best Buy trim their virtual teams because:

Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.

If the quality of those meetings and that collaboration is poor, it doesn’t matter if they take place over a conference line or in the fanciest of fancy tech digs.

Now there are tons of articles about how to hold meetings that people don’t hate and tips for holding productive meetings. That’s great, and I’m sure they’re a big help. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about 10 real tips for good meetings.

For meeting planners:

1. Get to your meeting room early so you can be prepared and ready to go before other attendees arrive. Likewise, end your meeting early so the next person can do the same. Don’t make the next group do the patented slow-stare-down-though-the-window move. Aren’t we better than that?

2. Unless it’s an emergency, no same day meetings. All same day meetings do is bring a diverse group of unprepared and angry people together in a room. Sounds like Congress!

3. Schedule meetings in a room closest to the largest number of attendees. We’re lazy. Learn to deal with it.

4. Don’t schedule meetings before 8:30 am or at 1:00 pm. “First thing in the morning” means something different to someone whose kids don’t start school until 8:15 am (For example, here in Madison, WI, school times vary between 7:35 am and 8:45 am). As for 1:00 pm meetings, is there anything worse than treating yourself to a rare out-of-the-office lunch but then having to frantically wave down your waitress for the check so you can make your 1:00 pm. What’s wrong with 1:30?

5. Finally, with everyone booked into so many meetings, sometimes you’re stuck with a lunch meeting. You are absolutely obliged to provide food. But not just any food. It’s easy to order pizza, but don’t forget to have a veggie option or to provide salad for folks watching what they eat. If you get subs, make sure the dressing is on the side, because mayonnaise is the devil’s condiment. (That 1:30 meeting is starting to look pretty good right now, isn’t it?)

For meeting attendees:

6. If you bring nothing to a meeting all you are doing is waiting for the meeting to end. Grab a pen and paper and put in a little effort.

7. Don’t play on your phone or your iPad for the entire meeting. If you can’t tear yourself away from the Internet, just go. Trust me, no one will miss you.

8. I know this is hard to believe, but your idea does not get better if you just say it louder. Shocking, right? Also, interrupting people is a great way to make a point – if the point you want to make is that you’re a jerk.

9. So what did you think of the game last night? Can you believe that call? And what about that last episode of Game of Thrones, what a doozy! Oh, I’m sorry, were you trying to read something about meetings here? Just say no to the urge to go off on a tangent. You can talk about these things at lunch (unless you have to hurry for a 1:00 pm meeting).

10. Don’t get outed by your body language.

What are your meetings pet peeves and no-nos?

About Kris Prusynski

Kris works on the Commercial Marketing team at TDS Telecom and helps TDS achieve their online objectives through digital marketing and website optimization. She has worked in the digital marketing space for over 15 years, in product categories as diverse as shoes, banking, beds and pig farming supplies (really!). Kris has both undergraduate degrees and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and therefore bleeds Badger red. She’s a veteran blogger on topics ranging from digital marketing to Wisconsin fish frys to the sweet necessity of ugly office sweaters. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find her on Twitter or Google+ trying to decipher the mysteries of A Song of Ice and Fire. In her spare time, you can find Kris kayaking, hanging out at the dog park, or thinking about lawn care.

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3 Responses to Another meeting? Oh no!

  1. Delora Newton June 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Love your comments about meeting start times. Especially in the afternoon. If I have control of the timing, I always schedule at 1:30pm instead of 1:00 pm. I want to enjoy my lunch, not rush through it. As for the morning, another reason to delay a meeting start until 8:30am or even 9:00am is that it allows people to check and return voice mails and emails prior to the meeting start. Then they can focus on the meeting topic instead of wondering what urgent messages are lurking in the inbox.

  2. kris June 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    How do you feel about end-of-the-day meetings? I can’t really come up with a good reason to avoid them other than that I personally don’t like them, so that’s no good!


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    […] focuses on another rarely appreciated aspect of working life: meetings. We’ve given you 10 tips for better meetings, but sadly, even those tips don’t always save you from some all-too-common meetings […]

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