How to Kill the Most Brutal Business Meetings Quickly

Throw out ridiculous business meetings.

You know what I’m talking about because odds are you have sat through a few of these yourself. A business meeting is held to accomplish something; it’s meant to go over ideas, weed through the junk, develop the good ones, and put a set plan in place to carry them out. If everyone knows their tasks and is working towards these tasks, why are you still holding a meeting?

Get rid of it.

It disrupts the rhythm your employees already have going.

Can You Actually Recall Your Last Good Business Meeting?

You need to make sure it’s memorable. Make sure your business meeting commands attention. If you’re still set on having one, make sure it’s getting creative juices flowing and channeling this stream of ideas toward clear-cut goals for a better return. Everyone should leave with a direct vision for increasing profits. Record it, take notes, write these ideas down. There’s even software that will transcribe and index your talking points; check out Fireflies.

Just because your company has hosted a business meeting every Monday for the past ten years, doesn’t mean you have to have one this Monday – unless you actually have something to talk about.

Get to the Point

But ask yourself – is this something that can be discussed by sending a quick email? Or through a group chat? Can you communicate the project on Slack, on Trello, or by Skype in a matter of minutes rather than the hour it takes to bring everyone together and put them to sleep in half that time? If your answer is ‘yes’ then don’t have one.

Some offices remove all their chairs before having a business meeting – that way everyone wants to get to the point – quick!

Shake Things Up Now!

If you are meeting, do something interesting – slam something you’re employees have never seen before down on the conference table and work from that. Thrown them a curveball. You want change? Results? Take the first step.

I’ve been to business meetings that served cocktails and handed out swag bags. I’ve attended ones at swanky locations, art museums, and beautiful gardens – where icebreakers and exercises key you into to the surprising things about your employees and your boss, as well as skills you never even knew you had.

At these meetings, I found out my boss was more of a cut-up than I originally thought, which actually made me respect him more. I’ve gotten close to and personal with upper management. I found out that the ordinarily non-creative teams had some of the most creative people because they were given time to shine. Found out that at least one person I would have never imagined hanging out with after work was indeed pretty gosh-darn entertaining. Bonds were formed. Found inspiration and new ways of thinking at business meetings, but I’ve also found a lot of crap.

Genera Games hosts their meetings on the basketball court during a quick pick-up game. If you hate basketball but love to surf, screw it; why not just go to the beach? Break down the walls. Build trust with your team. Take one from REI’s playbook and climb a mountain together.

Now, you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth for a good business meeting, but you do need to know the focus of your meeting.

If there is no focus – don’t have one.

DO NOT Go Completely Dark on Human Interaction

There is merit in going out to lunch, or bowling and beers, or charity work. You are giving your team more opportunity to work together, to build that rhythm, to learn from one another and about one another. Charity work also helps other people in the process and gives you positive content to share with the world. Your employees may never do it without you.

To open up lines of communication between employees that don’t really know each other Warby Parker arranges lunches for coworkers outside their regular cliques. They don’t have to like each other, but they do need to learn how to combine their skills in and out of the office.

Real live human interaction is necessary, especially in a digitally-dominated world – even if your employees work from home – especially if they work from home. But make it worthwhile. Don’t put a group of people in a room if they have no reason to be there.

Follow this Rule of Thumb

A company meeting is good for two reasons:

  1. Bringing all the people that work around you or for you closer together.
  2. Strategizing ideas that will move your company forward.

If your business meeting isn’t going to do one of these two things DON’T HAVE ONE.

Here’s what you do the next time you are about to host a business meeting; ask yourself if everyone will benefit. If only a couple people will benefit then hold a smaller business meeting. If no one will benefit – DON’T HAVE ONE.

Host MEANINGFUL meetings, because otherwise, you are wasting time, money, and the best resources you have – your employees.