6 ways to avoid unproductive meetings
Long, unproductive meetings…
We’ve all been there. We all hate them. And for Americans, French meetings are notoriously unproductive. That’s not to say that American meetings are models of efficiency…
But rather than arguing who has better meetings (probably the French because they might have fresh croissants & coffee rather than industrial, boring cookies), let’s look at how you can avoid unproductive meetings in London, Paris or Brussels.
1. Have fewer meetings
Yes, it’s that simple. Just see if you can find a way to solve the problem without having a meeting in Paris. Maybe a quick discussion with just one colleague, or a few email exchanges. But you can still have your coffee & croissants, of course.
2. Start on time
Another simple one. Just get to the meeting room five minutes early so the meeting actually kicks off at 10 a.m., not 10:10. And if your team suffers from CLS (Chronically Late Syndrome), start officially scheduling the meetings 10 minutes earlier than the actual start time.
3. Don’t eat during meetings
While lunch meetings with lovely catered meals are common in some companies, they kill productivity. The smells and the focus on food are just distracting. Instead, plan the meeting before lunch. This way, you’re sure to keep to schedule (or be risk being attacked by hungry co-workers).
4. Follow Jeff Bezos’ example
He says that “no meeting should have more people than can be fed with a pair of pizzas.” More people than that, and you probably have people in your meeting who don’t really need to be there. If everyone present doesn’t contribute to the discussion, they can just as easily get the notes after.
5. Give everyone a chance to speak
Just like in school, it’s often the loudest person who is heard the most. This person isn’t always the one with the best ideas or the smartest solutions. In a meeting, be sure to invite everyone to speak and to control the out-of-control extrovert. Your meeting will be more useful for sure.
6. Don’t use the meeting as the place to make all the decisions
This usually just leads to a lot of debating and trying to convince someone that your idea is better, when he just wants to tell you the opposite. Spend time before the meeting discussing the problem with the necessary people and use the meeting to simply get feedback. No yelling required.
Pretty simple tips, right? Your meetings can easily be more productive, shorter, and less frequent. And that will leave you time for the really important things in life, like croissants and coffee.
And before you go to your next meeting in London, don’t forget to revise the essential vocabulary!
An American living in France since 2004, Christina coaches French professionals to better communicate in English and grow their business abroad. With her YouTube channel Speak Better, Feel Great TV, she is on a mission to boost the English level of French people everywhere. Sign up and you’ll get a free video lesson every week!