Well that meeting was a waste of time!

  • October 8, 2018
  • News
  • Piers Carter

Ever said this or heard someone else saying this? I have.

And if so, it was your fault. Well, when I say it was your fault, I am being intentionally provocative but somewhere in the mix, if you were in the room you were part of the problem and so too can you be part of the soluti

on. Here’s how:

Call it out!

If there is no purpose or agenda set; call it out.

If people are talking over each other; call it out.If people are going off topic; call it out.

If you are sitting there, and its not going the way you want it to, what are you doing about it?

So often we blame the events and others around us for things not going how we want them and yet we sit, passively, doing nothing about it. Well, if you want to change anything, you’ve got to act and stop wishing for a better now.

A reality that you are not prepared to do anything about.

It begins at the beginning with timing expectations, here’s my opener at the outset of either formal or informal meetings:

“Thanks for being here, now before we start, how long have we got? I was expecting about 90 mins but I have some flexibility, what about you?”

If I’m not the chair or organiser and the timing isn’t clear I might say;

“Just before we get into the detail, how is everyone for time? I was expecting 2 hours with a hard finish at 3 pm, is that ok with everyone else?

Get that totally clear upfront and then stick to it. Meetings that over-run are so annoying.

Also at the beginning is the purpose, are you clear? Is everyone else clear? If not, call it ou

t and sort it out. Try this;

“For me, a good outcome would be to discuss the digital platform, make a decision on the wider team we want to include and agree the KPIs we think we can measure with this project. What about you, what’s a good outcome for you or what would you like to discuss?”

Again, being more junior or not one of the organisers I might say;

Once into the main part of the meeting you can use your new-found ‘call-it out bravery’ to stop people going off track or talking over each other. This can often be more impactful than being a subject expert. Just keeping meetings on track and agreeing actions and outcomes is hugely influential.

How you choose to call it out to get the point across but not to rub people up the wrong way is so important.

“Hey you 2, stop talking at the same time!” might not have the positive impact you want. An alternative could be;

“Sorry everyone, I’m worried we might miss something important, can we have just 1 conversation at a time please”

So next time you are in a meeting and it’s going on too long or is going off topic or is unclear in its purpose, call it out, say it for what it is.

Otherwise, you’ve only got yourself to blame.




Piers Carter