Meeting Overload?

Feeling Swallowed by Meetings?  You aren’t alone! Sometimes Academia seems particularly prone to this malady, so I shot down a rabbit hole on Google to see what insights I might be able to find for us all.

I found this helpful (and whimiscal) workflow for deciding on whether or not to schedule another meeting from Harold Jarche’s blog post in May:

The Atlassian article that he is quoting from (Running effective meetings) had several interesting points. They state:

An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list of great ideas to pursue, a shared understanding of the work ahead. 

So meetings need the right people, an atmosphere of open discussion, and result in a tangible result. Consider whether you have diverse perspectives and individuals with complementary knowledge who can enrich the discussion and problem solving. Get buy-in from meeting members that they will be actively involved in the meeting. In our monthly team meetings, for example, all electronic devices (except for the secretary taking minutes) are banned.  And finally, end with an action plan, decision, or next steps, complete with dates and deliverables so everyone knows where things stand.

DMCS Book Cover 450px.jpg

Another resource you might want to peruse on the topic of effective meetings is a 2017 book by Dr. Rick Brinkman. Dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand: Meet Less and Do More. It offers an empathetic and humorous view of this office-place time-stealer and provides a number of ideas and techniques to make meetings more effective and more tolerable. In addition to tips, real-life case studies are included to show how meetings can actually work successfully. The author also offers some extras on his website. He recorded a lengthy and quite informative interview with his publisher on YouTube:

I’d love to explore on this topic some more, but I have a meeting to attend. 😉

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