Meetings: Worthwhile or waste of time? Here's how to find out. | Opensource.com

Meetings: Worthwhile or waste of time? Here's how to find out.

Posted 10 May 2010 by 

Rebecca Fernandez (Red Hat)
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The pointless, endless office meeting. We've all been stuck in one. And if your department is like most, there's no transparent means to determine which conference room gatherings are highly productive and which are taking valuable time away from the business.

So here's a simple technique to hold your co-workers and management accountable for the meetings they call.

Get management to agree to place a box and a basket of small cards in every conference room. At the close of each meeting, pass out the cards and ask everyone to rate the meeting using the following scale:

5 – Crucial. Have new, essential information, was assigned a set of important action items, or made key decisions.

4 – Important. Took away valuable information, made tentative or useful plans, or have a set of action items that really need to be completed.

3 – Should have ended sooner. Important material was covered along with less valuable information.

2 – Next time just send an email.

1 – A complete waste of time and resources.

Pass around the box to place the anonymous cards into.

But don't just give the information to the meeting leader. Here's where transparency comes in. Place it on a chart in a common area or spreadsheet that is regularly emailed to the department.

Alternately, you could calculate the cost of every meeting, using Meeting Miser.

Rather than using the information in a divisive manner, work as a department to adjust your meeting habits and make the numbers more agreeable.

And if you're really brave, clear your throat the next time a meeting begins to spiral downward, and ask, "Shall we go ahead and rate this meeting, then?"

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7 Comments

dragonbite
Open Source Evangelist

Any suggestions on how to make sure people don't use this to kiss-butt, or to rate it high just to try and get out quicker?

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Rebecca
Open Source Champion

Do people butt-kiss if they don't get credit for it? Not sure if anything will help those folks...

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Jack Straw

Great hints! I have been sat in many a meeting while contemplating my own navel and thinking we really do not need to all be sat in here - an email would have been far more than sufficient.rafael nadal wimbledon

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Pascal X

Salut,
Merci pour l'info!

voyage israel

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Pascal X

Salut,
Merci pour l'info!

voyage israel

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Éric V

Bonsoir,
Un petit commentaire pour vous dire que nous avons vraiment kiffé cet article merci

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Éric V

Bonsoir,
Un petit commentaire pour vous dire que nous avons vraiment kiffé cet article merci

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Rebecca Fernandez works at Red Hat in employment branding. Before that, she was a freelance business writer for 5 years, and before that, a copy writer at Red Hat. (They just couldn't be rid of her.) Rebecca is interested in open source software, education, and the intersection of the open source way with business management models.

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