Meetings can be destructive

I’ve just read an interesting article about meetings Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule which reminded me about 37signals statement that “meetings are toxic” Meetings Are Toxic.

While I understand that meetings can’t be eliminated I also agree that many of them require urgent changes. The main issues I find destructive in far too many meetings are:

  1. No clear purpose.
  2. No agenda (= no chance to prepare or decline the meeting).
  3. No owner.
  4. Not sticking to a schedule.
  5. No clear actions after the meeting (except for a need for calling another meeting).
  6. The more attendees the better.

IMHO fixing the issues above would make most meetings far less destructive and not feeling like a waste of time.

Breaking day into small incoherent chunks can be solved by some simple policies like not having any meetings after/before lunch, having them at the beginning of a day, etc.

Of course, it won’t eliminate all the problems, but it’s easier to stand a couple of destructive meetings per month when all others are either cancelled or scheduled and conducted properly.

No, I’m not against meetings. I’m against useless meetings.


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