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Meetings can be important or can be a waste of time


A meeting is a discussion about some aspect of work between two or more people. Meetings can be either informal or formal.

Informal meetings may be spontaneous, called at short notice, often taking place in someone’s office, and generally directed towards very specific topics. Formal meetings are often larger and longer, entailing a whole team or group.

Formal meetings are often scheduled months in advance, with some organisations holding them on a regular basis. Topics for discussion tend to be wide-ranging, include both regular agenda items and more pressing issues.

Many meetings are a way of talking about stuff without actually getting anything done. Indeed, some people appear to spend more time in meetings than any other activity. Meetings like this probably do more for the person calling the meeting by enhancing their status and people who like talking. For other people it can be a waste of time.

But meetings can be very constructive. They provide an opportunity to share ideas, to critique ideas, to argue in order to get other people’s support, to agree and plan ways forward, and to help allocate duties to team members to ensure tasks are completed.

Effective and efficient meetings involve sticking to an appropriate agenda, recording minutes with clearly delegated action points, and publishing the minutes so that everyone knows what they have agreed to.

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