boring meetingsResearch shows that dysfunctional methods of communication have a negative impact on team productivity and mutual relationships. Holding a meeting is a good method of communicating in a team. Nevertheless, futile and meaningless meetings can be more harmful than useful. At times, managers call futile and meaningless meetings which are painful for participants. Many managers naively think that mandatory weekly/monthly meetings are a must – it is not. Meetings must have a concrete agenda and not fulfilling the time slot or satisfy the formal requirement.

Managers may be reluctant to accept that they time to time call unproductive meetings. Conversely, participants consider many meetings inefficient and a waste of time. Vigilant managers can easily recognize whether or not meetings are appreciated by participants by observing their behaviors in meetings. What do you think, participants are interested or disinterested in the meeting shown in the above picture? If people are mostly silent, do not make a contribution or/and busier in something else, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. In short, it is important that participants find your meetings productive and useful. The following points will be helpful in holding productive and efficient meetings and reducing the agony of participants:

  1. Email or a meeting: Some managers call a meeting to disseminate information that can be easily communicated through email. Managers must appreciate that the purpose of meetings is not to disseminate information but to discuss the issues or get further clarification.
  2. Speaking or listening: Some managers are very tempting to speak and tell their point of view about the proposal at the start of the meeting. They fail to appreciate the fact when they share their point of view, it discourages others from presenting alternate perspectives. Participants think that you have taken your decision so what is the point in sharing their point of view. Instead of tempting to speak, managers must learn to develop a habit to listen to others and learn from them.
  3. Appropriate Communication Style: Managers must avoid in showing as they know more than the other participants. It is possible that others have better knowledge and information. If you are explaining firm’s policy, be open without being annoyed to take hard and critical questions.
  4. Time for Questions: Being a manager, avoid using up most of the meeting time in presenting proposals and your views and leaving a few minutes for questions and comments. It alienates participants. There must be sufficient time for participants to contribute.
  5. Encourage all to Speak: In all meetings, some participants are extremely keen to dominate and consume a lot of time. It is the manager’s task that he/she should not let a few people dominate the meeting. Encourage others to participate in the discussion. However, a manager should not use it as a tactic to give a ‘shut-up’ call to the participant who is in opposition.
  6. Give credit: If one of your team members has given the idea, point out who shared it. If you won’t share the name of the person, it will be seen as the manager wants to take the credit.
  7. Time: Managers must not call a meeting at their own convenient time. Make sure that meeting time is convenient for most, if not all.
  8. Agenda: Prepare a meaningful agenda and distribute it in advance. Give your team members time to think about the problem(s) or proposal(s) that the meeting will focus on.