“Endless meetings” or “I am in back-to-back meetings” is an all too familiar refrain we hear from clients, and this started long before the current Zoom environment. Now that we don’t have to run from one conference room to the next in between, these meetings seem to occupy even more of our calendar space.
At the same time, one of the most common complaints we hear when working with people in an organization is that communication is insufficient, and they don’t have enough time to “just talk” about the important issues the organization is facing.
You might ask: What are we doing in all these meetings if we aren’t communicating?
Conversation is Missing
Conversation, that is speaking and listening, is our basic unit of communicating. While we spend many hours a day in meetings, we would like you to consider that effective conversation and therefore effective communication is missing.
Think about your last meeting and the conversations that were had (or not had):
- Were the intended outcomes of the meeting clear?
- Did the agenda support those outcomes being achieved?
- Were the right people in the meeting? (decision-makers, people with the pertinent information)
- Were you clear on your role in the meeting? (get information, make a decision, give input or provide an update on a topic, etc.)
- Was there an opportunity for people to raise any concerns, especially the less popular ones?
- Were actions identified along with who would take those actions?
Effective conversations accomplish something, they move a project or initiative forward.
Effective meetings are a set of effective conversations.
What was the result of your last meeting? What was accomplished?
If your answer to those questions is dissatisfying, stop and consider what part of the conversation was missing. Begin embedding effective conversations in your meetings and see what difference it makes. Let me know what works for you.