What do meetings have to do with developing your employees? One word: productivity. Do I hear someone saying "Oxymoron"? Just because we´ll all tired of meetings doesn´t mean we´re not trying to figure out a way to make them more appealing. One of the reasons people moan and groan though is because they know from past experience that their work time stops as soon as the meeting starts. What´s that about? They don´t view the meeting as something beneficial to their output. Indeed, a meeting can be quite an intrusion.
Sometimes people wish they were elsewhere for a very simple reason: they don´t know why they´re there in the first place. So one of the first things to do is make sure your people know why you´ve gathered them in the first place. It might seem obvious to you, but for them, it´s a mystery. Don´t make your meeting a mystery (unless maybe if you´re giving everyone a big, huge raise in which case it might be a celebration . . . ); making people guess is frustrating and defeating for everyone, including you.
Many companies invest a lot of money and time into successful meeting management. Oh, my gosh-did I just say "successful meeting management"? Just the language is enough to put you to sleep. The point is: we can´t live with "em and we can´t (and probably shouldn´t) live without "em.
Initially, and at the very least, you must let people know what the meeting will cover. Agendas are good tools to use for getting the word out. You can even assign a time frame for each item on the agenda. Plus, you can always add a line like "Miscellaneous" for topics that may arise during the meeting. Just make sure that you´re able to keep tabs on the time. You don´t want a surprise item to take over. In addition, consider giving someone the job of facilitator. If you´re running the meeting, that might seem awkward, but a facilitator´s job isn´t necessarily to lead but rather keeps things rolling.
Some companies make comfort-or lack of-a factor when it comes to effective meetings. Eliminating chairs, for instance, supposedly encourages attendees to attend to what´s necessary and then scram. Somehow, though, that reminds me a little of a bus stop or a train station, which may or may not facilitate idea generation. If you´re simply making a few announcements, removing seating could be the way to go. On the other hand, asking people to stand up for long periods of time when chairs are available might give your staff the wrong message.
Another complaint from veteran meeting goers is their relevance. That is, some people wonder why they´re at the meeting. Have you ever sat around a conference table and wondered what you were doing there? Instead of listening to everyone you´re trying to figure out why you were invited and what you´re going to say when it´s your turn! Make sure that everyone has a purpose for being present. Remember, you want people to remain productive as much as possible whether they´re quietly reading over documents at their desks or sitting patiently at a meeting.