For several years I have been thinking on and off about meetings and if and how useful those really are. Exactly one year ago I attended a business event and met CEOs whom told me "to never attend any unnecessary meetings". This comment has now stayed with me for one year. I attended my frist meeting when I was 14 representing green values at school. Back then it of course felt special and like a natural part of adulting. I loved to discuss important topics and solve problems together with a group of like minded people. Then I got into politics and went to political meetings of all sort; local, national and even international. I learned a lot and made important connections during these meetings and even met a few people that would ending up offering me jobs when I needed them the most.
After I got more involved however my view regarding meetings changed. I begun to realise that most of them where pretty late in the evening or afternoon which meant that people attending them had already been working etc. before attending and were feeling tired and unproductive an as a result the discussions continued towards unrelated topics and the real stuff would then be discussed at the next meeting. So more meetings were created in order to get on with things that weren't dealt with at the previous ones. All of this seemed useless to me. Those hours could have been used for these people to recharge after work or get some work done at home. I was beginning to understand that some meetings did the opposite of solving problems together instead, meetings took away time from the real action.
Meetings can't be avoided all together and most adults need to attend them as part of everyday life. But do we use meetings as an excuse to not do things? Are meetings a way to procrastinate on a collective and socially acceptable level? Depending on the meeting is my personal opinion. If and when all whom are going to attend are well informed and have been given enough time to prepare it might work out well and create a needed flow in the discussion but what should one do afterwards? No matter how great a discussion is it's still only discussion and not a direct solution to a problem.
Many people have tried to switch things up and create more productive meetings such as standing meetings and morning meetings since people tend to be more alert in the mornings. But the truth is we should really begin to use technology more actively in order to transform the meeting culture nowadays. Many meetings can happen over emails. Emails are pretty great since they give everyone more time to express their opinion and answer when it suits them best also, unnecessary topics can be avoided this way. Also, everyone should begin to realise that nothing requires physical presence anymore. You can attend an event from the comforts of your own home if you happen to own a computer. Video calls via Skype for example are a more effective way to hold meetings since people are given the chance to work from home if that is what they prefer or why not attend a meeting when traveling that is time management at its best my friends!
I encourage everyone to cut down on meetings because they can easily become a unnecessary tradition of collective procrasination. The idea behind meetings is pretty great since it is a way for people to connect and develop together. But if it takes a way our freedom and those crucial hours we should spend working on our own it can cause more harm than good.
I have this idea.. It might be crazy but those ideas can turn into gold (hopefully) that there should be an app almost like social media but for work/organisations that would collect all information in one place and help everyone stay connected but without the distraction of social media. To be honest it sounds exactly like social media.. But my vision would be that it would slowly begin to develop our meeting culture. The app would allow managers to set specific tasks for people working for them and provide with a chat room to discuss topics that would otherwise be discussed at meetings. Also a calender both a general and a personalized one should be included. The app should also include a do not disturb function so that people could keep better track of their time and not feel connected all the time because higher stress levels are not anything one needs at a big company for example. This is just something I have recently come up with and I am aware that the idea is not unique but business is all about creating something someone doesn't know they need and end up needing it after all. If there are any people out there interested or have a similar mindset then feel free to contact me!
Still dreaming about winning that ticket and being able to attend Slush Helsinki,