17 Reasons Why Your Meetings Aren’t Producing Results
The world of work is changing. Effective meetings = results. Ineffective meetings = failure to engage, lead and produce results.
Stop firing and rehiring. Perhaps its not the people. More and more its the lack of process. Start focusing on how the meetings get organized. You can engage your leaders and teams in a meeting effectiveness program.
Even though you may have a group of very talented individuals with a lot of capability, it’s not guaranteed these individuals will be able to work together and succeed. If you’ve ever worked in a group, you can easily understand why structure and effective decision making is key to running successful meetings!
To make meetings effective, it’s important to better understand why and in what areas are meetings failing.
Most commonly, poor quality meetings tend to lack structure and what ends up happening is a chaotic, loud, and unclear meeting. Much fury with little outcome.
Excellent meetings are structured to facilitate specific results. Otherwise meeting productivity is wasted. Without the right structure, all those ideas and opinions generated during the meeting are left up in the air to either be shot down or to float away pointlessly.
Without structure, the following information problems occur during meetings:
1. Disrupting/Interrupting – Meetings are unable to move forward and meeting members become frustrated or disengaged from being unable to effectively communicate
2. Incomplete ideas – Unable to reach a conclusion or solution due to interruptions, members move on to another topic or idea for the sake of ending arguments and to “move forward”
3. Information storing – Members hold on to information waiting for an opportunity to speak and by the time it is shared the discussion moves backwards or is disrupted completely
4. Blurred Topics – Members become off-topic and begin to discuss irrelevant ideas while coming up with unrealistic solutions that don’t necessarily tackle the original problem
5. Jumping to The Finish Line – Members begin to discuss possible solutions without understanding exactly why the problem occurred in the first place
6. Idea Shifting – Members divert the discussion to irrelevant topics or because the opportunity for others opinions on a personal matter has presented itself
On top of that, there are three strategies utilized by meeting facilitators that only increase the above problems:
1. Too controlling – The facilitator overreacts and tries to control as much as possible resulting in little creativity or analysis
2. Style & Interaction – Members speak one a time, information and presentation is bland and non-interactive
3. No control – The facilitator withdraws from the meeting completely and no direction is given or received
Meetings can also become ineffective and unsuccessful due to decisions and how they’re made. When discussions aren’t structured and communication is unclear, then decisions are made poorly and often by the wrong people.
Decisions tend to be made the following ways:
1. Automatically/Default – Members choose to have decisions made the way they always have been
2. Domination – Whoever is the loudest and appears most dominant is left to make decisions
3. Groupthink – Members don’t disagree out of fear and insubordination or because usually the leader tends to makes the right decision
4. Frustration/Exhaustion – Members become very frustrated and annoyed to argue and as a result agree with any decision
To combat the above decision making problems, many meeting facilitators adopt a decision-making style to ensure a decision is reached. They include:
1. Authoritarian – High amount of control and decisions are made quickly, but may not necessarily be the right decision
2. Consensus – Lots of participation and consideration, but decisions are made slowly without a facilitator
3. Majority Rules – Lots of participation and consideration among members, but allows for the majority to take control
4. Minority Rules – Lots of participation and consideration, but is often fueled by politics or persuasion
So, to better your facilitation skills and to create meetings that produce results it’s important to implement structure and to utilize strategies that tap into the creativity of members. Leaders tend to use more than 60% of the total communication time available during meetings which leaves only roughly 40% (or 24 minutes per hour) for participants to interact and communicate with each other. To run an effective and successful meeting, time must be evenly distributed because the above tells us that the majority of the creative energy of participants is not being utilized.
Management of meetings is often an overlooked skill that should be considered among more leaders and organizations because the mismanagement of meetings leads to greater costs, greater miscommunication, wasted time, wasted resources, and ineffective decisions being made. So, consider making meeting effectiveness training a priority for the upcoming new year.
NATURAL COMMUNICATION STYLE.
Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.