In my previous life, I had to take part in, or organize, a LOT of meetings. On average, I had at least two meetings a day. These meetings all tried to accomplish different things, involved different people, and created a TON of work.
That’s one thing I’ve learned about meetings: you don’t actually get anything done in a meeting. You just create more work for yourself. There’s the preparation work that needs to be done in order to get ready for a meeting, there’s the work that you promise to do after the meeting, and then there’s all the follow-up that needs to be done as you check with all the participants to make sure that they understand what they need to do. Phew. That’s one long sentence.
I remember when I first started to attend meetings for this job. I thought they’d be simple affairs where people work collaboratively for the good of the company. I anticipated that there would be some good arguments, but that what we did would end up saving all of us time and effort. I wasn’t exactly wrong, but I definitely wasn’t right.
A lot of times, participants in a meeting have their own agenda (other than the one that’s set for the meeting). Each person has something they want to accomplish as a result of the meeting, and this may or may not coincide with the intent of the meeting. It’s these preconceived ideas that people bring as ‘baggage’ into a meeting that can really slow down or derail the progress of a productive meeting. I know, since it happened to me on more than one occasion.
Hmm.. I think this post is running a bit long. I’ll continue next week with what you can do about salvaging a meeting.