23 Aug “We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This”
Question: What is the ideal length of time for a meeting?
I was not prepared for this question, when a Kansas City TV station reporter asked me. We were on a live morning show and I had to think quickly on my feet.
“What is the ideal length of time for a meeting,” she asked.
“Shorter than the last one”, I responded.
I went on to say that most of our meetings tend to get longer, not shorter. The MC (Meeting Chair) will say “We just have a few more things to go over”, and then continue to talk. Meanwhile, we start to see signs that people are checking out. So our 60 minute meetings become 90 minutes. At some point someone will probably call attention to it to see if there isn’t a way to shorten things up.
Of course there is. Cut out the lower priority items and send out an e-mail to everyone about those topics rather than tie people up in a meeting. Take each of their hourly wages, multiply it by the time spent in a meeting and then add it all up. How does that figure look?
One area I’ve noticed the tendency to go on and on is in the ministry. Some ministers can’t seem to cut their sermons short. You may see them glance at their watch and then re-review what they said. This adds confusion and people end up not understanding what they are supposed to remember because of this over re-capping.
The answer? Use 3-S Communication for your meetings. This is the formula I teach in my Power Communications course. The 3-S Method is SHORT: Only say what you absolutely must; SIMPLE: Don’t ever use words your audience won’t understand; and SELECTIVE: Use words that catch peoples’ attention– persuading them to take action and get results.)
TODAY’S ACTION STEP
Take a survey of the meetings at your organization and ask a few questions:
1. Do we need to hold all the meetings that we do?
2. Which ones are the most essential?
3. How could we cut them down to save our people time?