It is a common fallacy that organisations that have a lot of meetings must be good at meetings. In reality, they typically just perpetuate the embedded meeting culture that is often not very effective. There is a wealth of resources on running effective meetings, and one of the latest offerings comes from Renee Cullinan in the April 29 2016 edition of HBR.org (Read it here), in which Cullinan identifies three of the biggest areas for improving meetings.
- Including Introverts
Noisy people are not necessarily smarter, they just think out loud and so create the impression they are. Introverts are typically much quieter and process information internally. Consequently it is very common in meetings for the loud people to dominate discussion and reach a conclusion or consensus before the quiet ones have had a chance to contribute, leaving the decision-making process the poorer as a result.
Cullinan advocates a number of potential solutions for this, one of which is to circulate the meeting material prior to the meeting, thereby giving the introverts an opportunity to read and process the material prior to the meeting, and to then come to the meeting prepared to contribute.
- Remote Team Members
People who join meetings via teleconference often find it hard to contribute and report feeling left out. It is not uncommon for them to zone out and do other work during the meeting.
Again, Cullinan has a number of worthwhile suggestions for inclusion, one of which is to use video technology as often as possible instead of teleconference, thereby giving people a visual reference and ability to be seen.
Numerous research efforts have proven that during meetings women are far more likely to be interrupted and their ideas taken less seriously.
Amongst the proposed solutions from Cullinan is to create a culture of not allowing any interruptions, irrespective of who is speaking, and to “call it when you see it”.
The Avondale Business School can help you ensure your meetings are highly productive – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.
P: 02 4980 2168