Daft, I know, but in previously roles I always had to attend lots of meetings. I would get home from work, my husband would ask about my day and I would say “I hadn’t achieved a lot as I had been in meetings all day”.
It took me a while to work out that I was actually being productive, it was just I wasn’t spending time supporting the team and I wasn’t wading through my inbox, so it felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything. In fact, of course I had, as meetings are an important part of the working day, but it felt as if sitting in meetings meant I had to play catch-up afterwards.
Meetings can have a tendency to take up too much time. If people don’t keep to agenda or feel it’s a perfect forum to raise a burning issue that may be bothering them, time can run away.
I read an article on LinkedIn recently about a tactic one person’s workplace employed to keep meetings on track. They had a keyword “Jellyfish” which anyone in the meeting could deploy if they felt a meeting was going off at a tangent. I love this idea!
It can sometimes be awkward if someone wants to “take something offline” or if someone has to say “I don’t think that is relevant”. At least with “Jellyfish” it’s a fun word and can make light of a situation that will help keep meetings on track and speed up the meeting agenda.
Nowadays if someone sends me a meeting request here’s what I do:
- Does the meeting have a proper agenda?
- Can we achieve the objective in a phone or conference call?
- Does everyone really need to be involved?
- If not, take a look at the agenda and pass on thoughts to send a representative
- Always ask for the minutes from the meeting
Going through this process every time I receive a meeting request has become second nature and it helps to balance the day, so that I feel I have achieved something. And as for “Jellyfish”, we are going to try it out in our team meetings here at Forward Ladies, so wish us luck!