Are you experiencing meeting fatigue? Do you have a visceral reaction when someone suggests a meeting on something, even if it is important? Is “meeting” a four letter word in your company?

Eliminate Meeting Fatigue at its Core

If the answers to any of those questions were “yes,” it is time for you to take a stand against unproductive, uninspiring ,and unnecessary meetings.

The hard truth is, bad meetings almost always lead to bad decisions, which is the best recipe for mediocrity. ― Patrick Lencioni, Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business

You must have the courage to speak up and act with the greater good in mind.

Five Questions to Eliminate Meeting Fatigue

To provide grounds for eliminating a meeting, you need to have a framework. Put the meeting through the ringer of the following five questions:

Do I really need to hold this meeting?

Can I get the answers I need by individually speaking to key employees and stakeholders individually?  Will this help accomplish the objective in less time?

What is the objective?

For a meeting to be worthwhile, it must have a specific objective. What needs to be accomplished at the end of the meeting? Clearly define the purpose of the meeting, the objectives that need to be accomplished, the people who would need to attend, the length of the meeting, and the time it will take you (and the other attendees) to prepare. Everyone must enter with meeting’s primary goal in mind or risk missing it.

What is the agenda?

How is the meeting going to flow?  What topics are going to be discussed?  What decisions need to be made?  Which exercises or facilitation tools are going to be utilized?  Who needs to attend?  What is the length of the meeting? How long will it take to prepare? Otherwise, the meeting will be fraught with the potential for lack of focus and misguided by wasteful tangents. Meetings, if not driven by an agenda, are at a much greater risk of loss of time and productivity. Guide your meeting with an agenda and eliminate meeting fatigue globally.

What prework needs to be done in advance?

You need to be make your expectations clear about meeting prep work.  What work needs to be done prior to the meeting? Everyone needs to come to the meeting fully prepared. Send out the objectives, agenda and , in advance, to all participants the objective, agenda, and prework. Give everyone ample prep time. Attendees must be ready to roll from the first second of the meeting so no time is wasted in circular catch up.

How to ensure a productive meeting?

Begin the meeting by stating the objective, the agenda and confirm that they have completed their prepwork.  Ensure that everyone is crystal clear about why they are in the meeting and what they need to accomplish. At the end of the meeting it is crucial that you recap the meeting.  What was agreed upon?  Who is responsible? What are the next steps? If the cascading messages and to dos are not filtered through to the rest of the organization, you miss the effect the meetings can have in preventing still more meetings requiring more time investment. By ensuring all meetings satisfy these five questions, you will dramatically mitigate your risk of adding to meeting fatigue.

The Meeting Pulse™ is Designed to Help Avoid Meeting Fatigue

The EOS© Meeting Pulse prescribes a specific set and cadence of meetings to increase traction in your business.   The Meeting Pulse helps to improve communication, team health and overall results.  It is designed to help ensure that everyone stays on the same page and keep the circles connected. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg has a weekly Meeting Pulse at Facebook.  They check-in with each other first thing Monday morning and last thing Friday every week.  They are committed to this Meeting Pulse and have done this for the past nine years, the results speak for themselves.   Learn more about their weekly meetings here. At its core the EOS Meeting Pulse consists of the following of meetings:

In addition to its core components, you can also supplement these meetings with more frequent huddles and ad hoc offline meetings.  Every team is a bit different and needs to determine the right tempo to ensure optimal results.  You have to find the right balance for you and your team to avoid dreaded meeting fatigue.  It all starts, however, with getting your team trained and disciplined with their habits.