Effective meetings are a great way of ensuring team cohesion however the actual work gets done outside the meeting.

It is very easy to make meetings routine and ineffective. Whilst the culture of having regular meetings is essential to keep everyone aligned to the team goals, more often than not meetings can become an unnecessary ritual within organizations, offering a platform for all talk and little action.

Some meetings can take hours and hours without achieving a clear outcome whilst other meetings can easily turn into talk shows. I have personally attended meetings where participants are merely ticking the box. Most organizations do not pay for productivity, they reward for attendance (well at least in Zimbabwe). This is the reason why most meetings are used to kill time instead of helping organizations move towards their goals.

In some organizations meetings have become part of the organization’s routines so much that very little productive outcomes are achieved.

I have also attended meetings where hours are spent on protocol and unnecessary conversations. Well in Africa we seem to like protocol and heavy tittles.

Below is a list of meetings that kill workplace productivity.

1. Meetings without a clear agenda: oftentimes meetings that are held to fulfill a weekly regiment thereby adding little or no value to the grand scheme of things. Meetings are not an end, but a means to an end and thus should always be viewed as such. Every meeting must be convened with a clear goal in mind. A clear meeting agenda helps to keep the meeting on track, this does not imply that participants to a meeting must be rigid in their thinking. If at all it implies fluidity of mind in keeping the main issues, the most important part of the meeting. Always remember that meeting outcomes are more important that length of meetings. If at all it is essential to keep meetings as brief (yet comprehensive) as they can be so that people can quickly return to their work. A meeting agenda must be circulated well in time to ensure that attendees come prepared.

2. Routine meetings that do not track progress: The outcomes of productive meetings are well documented action items and enforceable resolutions, without which progress can not be tracked. Whatever was agreed from the previous meeting must form the basis upon which the current meeting can build upon. Meetings should not be for the sake of merely meeting.

3. Meetings with unclear roles and timelines: Time is the most important asset to any business. Good results can become bad results if they are not achieved within set time limits. Ambiguous resolutions remain unfulfilled. Someone has to be accountable for executing a deliverable and withing set timelines.

Be clear, be precise remember the idea is to bring results. More often that not too much talk involves skirting around the key issues. Avoid one person monologues, engage in dialogue. Have meetings on the go where necessary. Have visual presentations, be clear on numbers. Be Epic

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