Effective meetings

Improve meetings by focusing on what's important

November 7, 2012

by Steven Lesser

According to a recent Strategy + Business article, the risk of being “switched on” continually and the benefits of “shutting down” from time to time are important considerations for managers.

Effective managers and leaders learn to differentiate between the ants (trivial) and elephants (priority) tasks and set their schedules accordingly.

All too often we hear “that meeting was a waste of time”. Upon analysis, it is clear there are many factors that contribute to such a situation. These include distracting calls on mobile phones, using unrelated apps on smartphones and even laptops being used during the meeting (and not connected with the meeting). Intuitively we all know that it’s better to turn off and focus, but the pressure we allow ourselves to react to every “ding” of an email, text message or update actually wastes time.

Good meetings should be focused, efficient, participatory and results-oriented. Not being distracted by technology (phones, tablets, pagers) during a meeting, for example, will help achieve these qualities, resulting in a shorter, more effective meeting with good outcomes. That will then allow plenty of time to attend to those never-ending messages outside of other commitments. Research has shown that not changing how we respond to being on 24/7 costs us about 8 hours a week – that’s one full working day!

So, now is the time to change your habits when it comes to always being “switched on”.



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