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7 Advanced Techniques for Inefficient Meetings

7 Advanced Techniques for Inefficient Meetings

Some people have complained to me about having too many meetings in their companies, causing them great distress. They asked for my advice!

So, I conducted a survey on my social media circle and did some deep thinking, which led to today’s topic.

Without further ado, let me discuss the following seven aspects: “No agenda, the boss talking throughout the meeting, irrelevant discussions, constant interruptions, frequent latecomers, excessive use of PowerPoint, and lack of follow-up.


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01-No agenda

This issue may seem funny, but it’s actually quite common. For example, in a kickoff meeting, what exactly are we kicking off? It’s important to be clear.

In weekly meetings, what topics are being discussed? How is it any different from having no agenda at all?

Having a clear agenda, confirming the time and location, and ensuring that participants have time to think and prepare in advance are crucial issues before a meeting.

To sum it up with a joke: “Regarding this issue, um, let’s discuss it in our next meeting…”

02-The boss talking throughout the meeting

This is especially true in meetings with the boss, who does all the acting or speaking.

The audience were all spectators, playing with their phones and Macs, pretending to work while having a meeting.

What to do?

I think there are at least two cases: the executive will talk first (set the style), the management will talk after the boss (gather wisdom), and the participants will actively participate.

Except for the head of operations or OnCall colleagues that day, everyone should close their computers and not look at their phones, not look at their phones, not look at their phones.

To sum it up with a joke: Our company has a meeting on the boss alone fighting (speaking)!

03-Irrelevant discussions

In the process of a meeting, especially if the participants have different professional fields, or some colleagues have divergent ideas, it is easy to associate one detail with another.

What to do?

At this time, the organizers of the meeting need to act in a timely manner, so that they can discuss themselves after the meeting.

To sum it up with a joke: The meeting is like getting the thinking, has been pushed to the end!

04- Constant interruptions

The first principle of meetings: If something can be explained in person, there’s no need for a meeting. If a discussion can be done with three people, don’t invite a fourth.

I’ve seen many situations where someone is invited to listen in when a specific topic is being discussed.

My suggestion is to either have everyone present from the beginning or clarify the necessary preparations in advance.

When someone joins later, they often look confused and leave with tasks they don’t fully understand.

It’s quite ruthless!

Unless it’s a meeting without a specific agenda, then it’s a different story. 🙂

Here’s a joke to sum it up: The longer the meeting goes on and the more people there are, the hotter it gets for those standing.

05- Frequent latecomers

There was a time that I was late for the CTO’s weekly meeting twice, and each time I had to pay a fine of 500 dollar, which was quite painful.

Later, during the weekly meetings of my own department, I assumed that everyone would be punctual, but lateness was still a common occurrence.

So, I improvised a solution: a fine of 20 dollar per minute for being late, capped at 100 dollar. At the end of the meeting, I would distribute the collected fines as cash.

Surprisingly, the previously quiet weekly meeting group became more lively and active, thanks to the expressions of gratitude from my boss.

The essence of imposing fines for lateness was not about the money itself, but about establishing a rule that everyone could agree upon, in order to make better use of time.

Here’s a joke to sum it up: If a meeting problem can be solved with money, then it’s not a problem!

06-Excessive use of PowerPoint

Steve Jobs was strongly against the use of PowerPoint, and so was Jeff Bezos. They believed that if you can’t do without PowerPoint, it means you haven’t thought things through clearly. Without a clear understanding, you won’t know how to proceed and achieve results.

Moreover, creating PowerPoint presentations takes up a significant amount of time, often resulting in flashy and animated slides. It’s like an oily middle-aged man trying to show off.

To sum it up with a joke: Who’s bragging again!”

07- Lack of follow-up

Have you ever encountered this situation? Every time you have a meeting, there are a dozen topics on the agenda. And then, after a month, you find yourselves discussing the same issues again.

What should you do?

In such cases, there is one thing you need to do – if you can provide a conclusion on the spot, do it. For other topics that require follow-up, identify the responsible person and provide a deadline right away. Or you can use meeting tools to help you, such as,Everyone can clearly see their next actions and tasks to meet the daily target.

Then, on a regular basis (such as at the end of each month), review these topics to ensure that all of them are closed and resolved.

Of course, make sure to send meeting minutes via email to all participants and relevant individuals.

To sum it up with a joke: Oh, I remember now! We already discussed this issue before!

Author: Stephen G. Rogelberg

Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

His research findings have been widely applied in the fields of organizational management and leadership development,and has significant implications for improving meeting efficiency and team collaboration.

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