It seems I’ve fallen off the radar this month and so have some of my colleagues. Are we dodging the new Facebook? Nope. Now that mainstream media has let all our former classmates, family and coworkers know about Twitter, are we ducking our newest followers? Nope.
For me, it’s been March Meeting Madness. I log out of my calendaring application in the evening feeling relatively safe and sane, knowing I might be able to salvage a few productive hours in the proceeding days. Then, I wake up, come to work, log in and find that overnight, some calendaring fairy—or a band of impish meeting happy academics—have sprinkled meeting dust all over my calendar.
So what’s a girl to do? I propose we all leave notes under our pillows (so to speak), as an incantation to ward off all the meeting-happy people who might be tempted to clutter up our calendars. Please feel free to comment with some of your own tips as well:
Dear Meeting Imps,
We in higher education sometimes spend more time talking about what we’re doing and thinking about what we’re doing than actually doing it. But sometimes action is necessary.
In the name of efficiency, I have the following suggestions:
- Rethink standing meetings. What is the purpose? How frequent? Who really has to be there? What’s on the agenda?
- Shorten the meeting by moving items off the agenda. What can be done before meeting? What can be done after? What can be done in smaller subcommittees?
- Include travel/down-time in scheduling an event. Even in the same building people need to walk from one location to the next, gather materials, take a break, check calendars, and leave previous meetings that may have run over time.
- Understand how technology is being used in your meeting. How are people using technology? If they use technology to get information on demand, to document the meeting in real-time, or to assist the meeting in some other productive way, don’t discourage it. If they are using it to get other non-meeting related work done or for personal business, you may need to re-evaluate how frequent you are having meetings or who really has to be at your meetings.
Please don’t take my word for it. Read Allan Gyorke’s blog post on the subject as well as the comments from the readers below.
NikkiMK, a.k.a. “Booked Until Retirement”
Photo “Meetings” by Pixarman