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Do You MEET to Work or WORK to Meet?

Confused? Yesterday, I met with some dear friends over a great lunch. We hadn’t connected in a long time, primarily because of the pandemic. But this time, we finally decided to get together in person to celebrate our achievements during the pandemic. When it all hit, we were in significant leadership roles in our Toastmasters district. However, we persevered and met our goals even with the chaos of re-adapting going on around us. I am very proud to be a part of this group of achievers. They inspire me.

I no longer hold a leadership role this term because life has taken me on other journeys. But, as Toastmasters, entrepreneurs, and career-oriented individuals, our roles and relationships were developed around meetings. So what was one of our topics over lunch? You guessed it. Meetings. Efficient meetings are a Toastmaster thing. Our clubs are focused on communication and leadership. Built through our pathways programs and demonstrated in our meetings, as well as in our personal lives. In each meeting, though, there are standard goals and outcomes. There are expectations to be met for the club and the individual. So, imagine this. A group specializing in effective meetings is as flabbergasted as the rest of the working world why we have so many meetings in the workplace. Yes, we concluded the concern is universal. Inundated by meetings, everyone we know and talk with worries about how they affect their workload and time management. Clearly, it’s time for a change.

Companies need to take a closer look at those standing meetings. You know the ones; they are on the calendar monthly or even weekly. Whether there is anything significant to report or discuss, you can’t miss it. Or the project meeting where nothing has changed since the last meeting, but everyone has to report that. Maybe an email update from everyone would have sufficed? Just asking. We all have those meetings you sit through, you are invited to, and not one thing discussed is relevant to you, or you have nothing to add because this is not in your area of influence. Zoom is the new four-letter word if you are like many people in the working world and me. Sorry, Zoom, I know Team Meetings, WebEx, and a few others are also to blame, but your name is so easy to sigh out…ZOOOOOM… in frustration.

Leaders, as you check your calendar this week, ask yourself if this meeting will make your staff more productive. Will this meeting move your project forward or stall it for another hour or two? Will this meeting be better as a one-on-one or two or three, not the whole department who are probably working while you talk, if they are working remotely and in front of the computer? How is your meeting impacting productivity? Are you meeting all day and working all night, affecting your time with your family? Rethink those meetings. So again, I ask. Do you meet to work or work to meet? Or should I ask, what is your preferred outcome?

If you are struggling with that answer, may I suggest joining Toastmasters? Then, watch an efficient meeting in action.

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