Do you have time to waste? Do you want to come unprepared, have an unstructured discussion, and leave without a clear resolution? Then follow these seven tips for a truly pointless meeting.
1. Just have a general meeting
There’s no need to have a purpose or a format. Just have a meeting, because, well, meetings are just what you do at work, right? There’s no need to get hung up on the details about why you’re meeting, what you’re going to discuss, and how you’re going to do it – just set up a meeting and see where it takes you.
2. Invite everyone
Just invite a bunch of people. The more people you can fit into the room, the better. You don’t want to miss anyone out, so invite everyone to be on the safe side. People will be able to work out for themselves whether they really need to be there or not.
3. Forget the agenda
Agendas are boring and they take time to draw up. Save your energy – everyone will just instinctively know what needs to be discussed, and they’re bound to stick to the topic once you’ve work out what it is.
4. Skip the prep
Everyone will work out what prep they need to do for themselves. And if they don’t, you can just bring them up to speed in the meeting. No one will mind spending the first part of the meeting doing that. Don’t bother emailing or printing out any materials you’ll need before the meeting either – it’s fine to do it in the meeting and kick off a bit late.
5. Start and finish whenever
It doesn’t matter if you start a bit late – you can just run over at the end. Timings are more like guidelines than hard and fast rules, so don’t take them too seriously.
6. No need to lead
There’s no need to chair the meeting, it’ll probably run just fine by itself. You had the idea for the meeting and sent out the invite – that’s your bit done now.
7. Don’t take notes or send out actions
There’s no need to take notes. You’ll remember most of it, and if you don’t someone else is bound to have written it down, so you can just check with them. The attendees will probably remember the outcome of the meeting and their actions, you don’t need to provide them with notes and actions as a reminder.
Sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? A meeting filled with people who aren’t sure if they really need to be there, with no structure, no outcome and no point. Of course it’s unusual to find yourself in a meeting that makes all seven mistakes, but a lot of meetings will make at least one. And research does show that over half of us think that half the meetings we attend are unproductive.
If you want to make your meetings better, we’ve put together a meetings checklist that can help you avoid making some of the most common meeting errors. Let us know how you get on with it, and don’t forget to share your meeting experiences with us in the comments.