Monday, November 24, 2014

No MAS - How to Save the World (or at Least Yourself) From Bad Meetings

Every day, we allow our coworkers, who are otherwise very, very nice people, to steal from us. I'm talking about time. Your time. In fact, I believe that we are in the middle of a global epidemic of a terrible new illness known as MAS: Mindless Accept Syndrome. The primary symptom of Mindless Accept Syndrome is just accepting a meeting invitation the minute it pops up in your calendar.

No MAS! — An epidemic of bad, inefficient, overcrowded meetings is plaguing the world’s businesses — and making workers miserable. David Grady has some ideas on how to stop it. 
  1. Don't automatically accept meeting invitations. 
  2. Instead, email the meeting holder and ask to help them create an agenda, etc. 
  3. If enough people do that often enough, respectfully, people might start to be a little bit more thoughtful about the way they put together meeting invitations.
People just might start to change their behavior because you changed yours.

Efficient meetings are the result of careful planning by the meeting planner. Make your meetings more effective with the use of SPACER as a meeting framework

Use SPACER (Safety, Purpose, Agenda, Conduct, Expectations, and Roles & Responsibilities) as a technique to improve team meeting efficiency and effectiveness.

Safety – is always the top priority, discuss safety protocols like evacuation, PPE or safety equipment needed in the facility, bathroom location, etc.

Purpose – "what is the meeting for?", discuss what is in scope and what might not be.

Agenda – no matter what type of meeting or for how long there should be some sort of plan.

Conduct – what are the rules the team participants should adhere to while in the meeting like cell phone us, side discussions, etc.

Expectations – what do we expect to get out of this meeting especially if it is a training session?

Roles – what are the roles of the participants in the meeting, is there a note taker or time keeper for example. 

One of the biggest challenges to meeting effectiveness is we are essentially creatures of habit. We do things this way because we have always done things this way – status quo. 

Take David Grady's advice to change status quo. Don't lose your time. No MAS!

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