Sick and Tired of Those Boring, Unproductive Time-Sucks Called Meetings?

UPDATED: June 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2015

How much time do you spend in meetings? Too much?

That’s because today’s workforce is becoming more and more team oriented—and as it does, the number of internal meetings keeps increasing. The weekly status meeting where everyone goes around the room and gives an update? Now standard practice… even though many people find it to be a complete waste of time.

You’ve probably had your fair share of boring, unproductive status meetings. People either want to rush through and it ends up being pointless, or someone gets off topic and drags it out. Then there are the people who sit there totally distracted, focusing on what real work they need to do.

The problem is that most status meetings focus on what has already been done. And most plans can change or get derailed—like Mike Tyson says, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”

So what if you changed your meetings to focus on solving problems for the future and developing alternate solutions instead? What if you changed your weekly status meetings to weekly adjustment meetings?

Here’s how to get started:

1. Set yourself up for a successful quarter.

Have a clear plan for the quarter and make sure that everyone understands the company goals and their own individual goals for the quarter.

2. Have a weekly “meeting with myself.”

At the end of every week, make sure to prepare yourself for the following week. Ask yourself: How did I do this week? What do I need to accomplish next week? Am I stuck on anything, and if so, who can help me?

3. Know your issues.

Know what areas in the company need help or what individual projects you need help on and begin thinking of ideas to discuss with the group.

4. Know what’s working.

For the things that are going well, discuss why and find out what’s working. Maybe the same thing could work for something else or maybe there is a way to do it even better.

Even the best-run meetings can get off track. When projects aren’t going as planned, it’s easy to blame the individual responsible for the project. Instead, we should resist this temptation and thank them for their efforts. Then, use the intelligence of the team to focus on developing solutions for better results. You’ll find the person more receptive to new ideas and eager to get the project back on track.

Another common pitfall of meetings is going over the scheduled time. So always be sure to stick to the schedule. If an issue cannot be resolved in the allotted timeframe, then you should schedule another meeting. When you respect the schedule, you respect your team’s time, and they will find the meetings more worthwhile.

Not only will switching to weekly adjustment meetings help your team be more productive, but it will also improve morale by decreasing frustration from wasting time and lead to solving problems together. Imagine how much more you could get done if you spent those 52 meetings a year working together on solutions instead of merely going over status…

Check out 8 creative ways to avoid pointless meetings—more ways to turn around the proverbial time-suck.

Patrick Thean is the co-founder and CEO of Rhythm Systems and author of Rhythm: How To Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth. A serial entrepreneur and best-selling author, Patrick is a thought leader in strategic business execution. In 2006, along with co-founder Cindy Praeger, Patrick founded Rhythm Systems based on the desire to help businesses accelerate their growth by focusing on great execution and as the industry’s only provider of a complete, cloud-based strategy execution software platform that facilitates airtight execution and measurability for mid-market CEOs.