Unleashing the full capacity of your people

The Cure for Bad Meetings: Pay Attention and Contribute!

If you find meetings boring and “a waste of time,” there is a simple remedy that solves that problem constructively, rather than destructively:

Banish boredom by paying attention and participating!!!

This advice pops into our mind because our marketing guru received this diatribe from the market research publisher Quirks. It captured very nicely the horrifying impact smartphones and iPad-like devices have had on workplace meetings. The experience the writer described is way too common in business today, and must be eradicated if we are to maintain productivity.

You can banish boredom all by yourself and it is easier than you think. Simply engage fully in the content being presented. Don’t distract yourself with e-mail management or other off-task activities. Choose to pay close attention, and actively participate in discussions.

  • Assume you will hear something new and useful every time, even if you have heard the presentation before. Volunteer to take notes, if that keeps you fully engaged.
  • Turn off your electronic equipment every time. If you are “on deadline” or “on call,” don’t come to the meeting. Being physically present is useless without being mentally present. It is OK to ask beforehand if you really need to be there.
  • Challenge yourself to keep an open mind, and “check your assumptions and preconceived notions at the door.”
  • Make constructive comments. Never snipe, or use the poor presenter to score points in front of your boss.
  • Challenge assumptions in a substantial way. Never disparage any well-intentioned contributions to the conversation.
  • Never hijack a meeting from the presenter. Let that person retain control while offering your input.
  • Give ground when reasonable arguments are presented in opposition to your view. This is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of character and an ability to adapt and grow.

Any meeting can be turned into a useful event if a constructive conversation breaks out that is forward-thinking (what should we do from here?) and action-oriented (how best to do those things?). You can instigate these constructive conversations!

Solve your boredom by engaging fully in the content. Be the person on your team that magically turns meetings from dead zones to constructive events! Our twenty-five years of experience tells us that if you do take this “high road” others will see the results and start to adopt your behavior.

Comic source credit: We found the comic above at http://blog.somepixels.net/2012/03/meetings/


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