Churches are notorious for meetings. We actually have meetings in order to plan meetings!
I am sure this can be true in just about every professional setting. Meetings can be a problematic. Too many meetings. Unproductive meetings. Boring meetings.
People, as busy enough as they are, don't want to go to meetings just for the sake of going to meetings. And since, in the church, most of the people we work with are volunteers, as a leader, you have to work extra hard on making meetings worthwhile when you have them. Because since you don't pay volunteers you can't order them to come to the next meeting you call.
Here are some helpful thoughts and tips that I have discovered to help avoid, "Death by Meetings".
Be judicious with meetings!
I try to only call meetings with my volunteers and leaders only when I have to. And most of the meetings that I do call are well planned and scheduled in advance. Try not to spring too many last minute, emergency meetings on people.
Know why you are meeting.
What do you want to accomplish? What are your anticipated outcomes? If you don't know the answers to those questions, then you don't need to meet! To often we think that if people just meet together than productivity will ignite. Not true! You must plan and prepare before you meet. Review past notes and information before you meet. Don't wing meetings. Have an agenda to guide your time and to forecast for the participants where you are going and what you intend to accomplish.
Infuse value into your meetings.
What you invest into your current meeting opportunities will produce dividends for future meetings. If your meetings are engaging, purposeful and productive then people will see value in them. If your meetings help move the church or organization toward it's greater vision than people will see value in them. And if people see the value of your time together, they are more likely to carve out time and make future investments to meet.
Not all things can be accomplished in meetings.
Meetings don't always produce the best environments for new ideas and creativity!
MSNBC has an interesting article titled “Meetings make us dumber, study shows“. Here’s the point that really deserves to be noticed:
"The researchers speculate that when a group of people receives information, the inclination is to discuss it. The more times one option is said aloud, the harder it is for individuals to recall other options…"Meetings aren't always the best incubators for new ideas and creative thinking. New ideas and creativity are often cultivated in environments of play or quiet reflection.
Think through creative alternatives to face-to-face meetings.
I have tried different ways to interact with groups of people without necessarily having to set up another face-to-face meeting. Sometimes what you may need to accomplish doesn't require everyone to be in person. You can try to use:
Online chat and web conferencing
What you do after the meeting is just as important.