Office meetings are a little bit like that family member who means well but who nobody really looks forward to seeing.
In theory, an office meeting should be a highly productive opportunity to ensure everyone is up-to-date with the status of your business and various projects and to spit-ball ideas for taking your business further.
That's the idea but often that's not how it turns out in practice. All too often, meetings can end up feeling forced when you have nothing really new to report and in this case all they end up doing is wasting time that could be spent on being productive.
An office meeting is the perfect example of what is known as communication overhead. This is a term that describes the sheer amount of time that it takes to communicate within a business context and how this can end up eating into the time that you could be being productive. If your staff are busy attending meetings, this means that they are not busy completing work for clients. This in turn means less turnover and less profit for your organization.
Good Meetings Versus Bad Meetings
Does this mean you should never have another meeting again? Of course not. Getting everyone in one place is very often the best way to quickly come up with solutions to problems and to explain processes and trends within the organization.
But if you don't need to have a meeting, then forcing your staff to have one so that you 'feel' like you're being productive is actually bad management. Far preferable would be to choose another means of communication that would help you to get everything over with sooner.
So what other options do you have in terms of your communication?
Sometimes, sending out a bulk e-mail can be a much quicker way to update everyone on some news for example and this also has the benefit of ensuring everyone has a 'record' of that communication.
If you're working on a collaborative project or if you want to keep everyone updated on budget/progress, then conversely you might opt to use some type of cloud-based web app. Google Drive spreadsheets are perfect for letting people log work they've completed for instance, while Trello is a very handy project management tool.
You might even decide to use video conferencing software as opposed to meeting in person: this way you can carry out meetings without anyone having to travel or even leave their desk.
Keeping it Brief
If you do decide to go ahead with a meeting though, then the key is to keep it efficient and not to waste time on unnecessary chin flapping.
One way to do this is to have a clear agenda for your meeting that you can work through and to cut the small talk. You also shouldn't invite people who don't need to be there. And if you want to go even further in ensuring your meetings are kept brief, you can even encourage your staff to conduct them standing up. That way you can prevent the team from getting too comfortable!