Do you hate meetings as much as we do? They interrupt the good “groove” one gets into during the day when working on new ideas, better copy, stronger marketing plans, more strategic executions and such.
Sadly, meetings are sometimes necessary. They are a convenient way to transfer knowledge and get affirmation. We are still a visual society. We need to look people directly in the eyes to fully understand and efficiently communicate.
Of course, at the same time, the written word has lost a great deal of impact. People just don’t write as precisely or as deliberately as they once did. Just read a few letters written by Civil War combatants to the folks back home. (Remember that extraordinary letter read at the end of the first episode of Ken Burn’s documentary, “The Civil War”? Everyday people don’t write like that anymore! But we digress...)
Meetings are an important part of the business landscape, especially so in the agency business. That being said, strive to control every meeting so it does not get out of hand and waste everyone’s time. We have found the following method helpful for controlling agency meetings.
Do not hold a formal meeting in your agency unless the person asking for the meeting publishes the following:
- The purpose of the meeting
- A meeting agenda (This is critical if you want to save time; insist on an agenda and stick to it during the meeting!)
- The meeting’s estimated length
If you require these items, AND hold people’s feet to the fire until they fulfill the requirements, meetings will at least be tolerable. With a little forethought and management, they can actually be productive!
The meeting leader should take everyone through the agenda, with brief pauses for input or clarification. Yes, we know this seems elementary, but you would not believe how many meetings we attend where no real procedure is followed. The meeting bogs down in arcane debates over trivia, or devolves into a battle of personalities. There is a time and place for everything—a meeting called to accomplish a specific goal is less likely to turn into an airing of grievances if you keep a firm hand on the reins and guide the horses through the obstacle course at a smart trot.
You might also try this tactic for client meetings, and gain a reputation for not wasting the client's time!
See also: Can This Meeting Be Saved?