Is This Meeting Necessary?

Today’s Retail Wire panel discussion addresses some provocative ideas from Seth Godin on how to run more efficient meetings. My take:

Mr. Godin’s recommendations are meant to be conversation-starters but also make some sense. They address the very real concern that time management is a lost art. Individuals in the workplace are hampered getting their own tasks done and leaving some time for productive thought if they are caught in an endless loop of meetings and e-mails. Many meetings happen out of a sense of the manager’s self-importance, not out of any urgent need to gather a group together.

The most important suggestion of all is missing from the list: The person in charge needs to start by asking the question, “Is this meeting necessary?” If the honest answer is “No,” then the meeting shouldn’t be scheduled in the first place. A lot can get accomplished through five minutes of personal interaction between two people rather than scheduling an hour for a dozen people. This may seem to run counter to the idea of “team building” but in fact is more respectful of the team members’ most important asset: time.

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