"Less meetings and more work." This is one of the most used mantras to underestimate group reflection exercises and contrast them with other tasks of a more productive nature. These are statements that today make a fortune, since work meetings are not exactly at their best. They are not in fashion. And an irrefutable sample is that many organizations have had to adopt bizarre anglicisms to avoid pronouncing the cursed word: meeting.
We have reached this point because in recent years work meetings have been used abusively and, in many cases, without even providing them with minimum rules that would guarantee their proper functioning, which has made them an inexhaustible source of wasted resources. In fact, according to a study carried out by the consulting firm Brain
But the alternative to this situation is not to demonize meetings, or delete them, or call them meetings . The big challenge is to improve them. Because well-organized professional meetings are useful for matters as essential as devising strategies, developing projects or capturing opinions. In addition, they are the ideal space to build collective intelligence that encourages thinking and guides action.
In this sense, there are some good practices that should be taken into account when planning a work meeting, since the methodology can end up being the truly differentiating element. In the first place, it is recommended that there is always a person who leads the meeting and who is responsible for all its phases, from the initial planning to the conclusions, through the moderation and dynamization of the debate. The goal is to prevent the meeting from becoming a zone of shared irresponsibility, where everyone rows but no one takes the helm.
Another capital issue is the number of attendees at a meeting. The trend always points to overpopulation, usually caused by information addiction or fear of exclusion. But only those people who can contribute some real value should attend a work meeting. For example, in a well-known company in the textile sector, the CEO begins every meeting by asking each of the attendees the reason for his presence. Those who cannot answer convincingly are invited to leave the room.
On the other hand, every meeting should be convened in advance and have a previous script, which includes all the points to be discussed. In this way, it is possible to focus the debate on the important issues and, at the same time, it makes it easier for people to come to the appointment well prepared. In this line, no work meeting should be conceived without the preparation of a subsequent act, which collects the conclusions and distributes the resulting work, with specific names and dates. Otherwise, if nothing is left in writing, the value of the meeting enters the turbulent terrain of subjective memory.
Pilita Clark, a columnist for the Financial Times, also reminds us that participatory meetings must be favored, with dynamics that mobilize introverts and neutralize charlatans. According to her, there is a good practice that is not always respected: "Speak only if you have something relevant to say."