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Be a Better Meeting Attendee

You hate meetings. I do, too.

But there’s a real reason we’re spending all our time in them: meetings are a natural response to our increasing need for more coordination, cooperation, and collaboration. Working in complexity is complex, after all.

And since most organizations don’t work on the work nearly as much as they should, we get invited to more meetings because they’re an easy solution for when we need more coordination, cooperation, and collaboration.

Coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating do a good job summarizing what we do all day, don’t they?

While all of us are begging for fewer meetings so we can actually get some work done, for at least one person at each meeting you attend, that meeting is how they are getting their work done. Meetings are (probably) how you get work done, too.

That means meetings are (almost certainly) not the problem and there are (almost certainly) broader organization challenges creating the need for more and more and more meetings. 

So while meetings receive our ire because they prevent us from getting done what we need to get done, they are an available tool—often the available tool—for the increasing coordination, cooperation, and collaboration our jobs require. 

Meetings are what you make them. It’s true that meeting leaders carry significant responsibility for making sure good meetings happen. It’s also true that meeting attendees carry significant responsibility for making sure good meetings happen. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before and after your next meeting as an attendee. Being intentional about your responsibilities will help you make (more) change happen.

Two versions: the conspicuous (Google Presentation) for a little pizazz in your day; and the inconspicuous (Google Document), for a pastime in a meeting you’re sitting in right now.

This article also appeared on LinkedIn

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