It’s Monday morning… and I thought you might enjoy these rather cynical quotations on meetings, all compiled in a very interesting report sent to me by a client and good friend of mine.
“A meeting is a gathering where people speak up, say nothing, and then all disagree.”
“A meeting is an interaction where the unwilling, selected from the uninformed, led by the unsuitable, to discuss the unnecessary, are required to write a report about the unimportant.”
“A Meeting is indispensable when you don’t want to get anything done.”
“A meeting is a place where you keep the minutes and throw away the hours.”
“Time and Money, money and time, with respect to meetings they intertwine. And, when all the costs are added up, it blows your mind.”
There’s a growing trend against meetings, and a general perception that their cost exceeds the value they bring. Some will tell you just to skip your next meeting. Others say they should be cut out altogether.
I’m not so cynical as to believe there is no use for them at all. Part of the problem is that we see our next meeting as an end in itself. At best, we look at them like a chore – like doing the dishes or walking the dog or taking the kids to school.
I like to think of meetings as a tool, or a set of tools. Some meetings can be useful for sharing information. Others are necessary for holding people accountable. Still others, the most important, are critical for making decisions. When we focus on the objective of the meeting, and the benefit it will bring to us and those participating, suddenly the meeting begins to work for us rather than against us. And when we begin to use meetings as a means for accomplishing our work and refuse to let them take a life of their own, they become a valuable mechanism for becoming more effective.