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The Only 3 Reasons to Have a Meeting


Most people claim to hate meetings, which is why it’s so strange that we seem to spend such a high percentage of our lives in conferences rooms, drooling quietly while a PowerPoint flickers away on a far wall.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to have meetings. If we never spoke to each other in a formal setting, we’d lose a lot to translation from IM or phone. Plus, as Marissa Mayer would tell us, we’d lose out on that interaction time that sometimes leads to great ideas (in addition to discussing which character should get it next on The Walking Dead).

I pondered this issue, and it seems to me that, when you boil it down, there are only three real reasons to have a meeting:

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1. To make a decision.

This is the weakest one, in my opinion. Unless you’re part of some sort of Monty Python-style autonomous collective, making decisions via meeting is a dicey proposition. For one thing, you’ll probably wind up with at least a few players who tend to propose agenda items only when they’re sure they’ve got a majority to back them.

2. To share information.

A solid reason, and one of my favorites. Lots of companies seem to have gone over to announcing everything over email (probably because there’s almost always someone working at home, or traveling, or checking in when they’re supposed to be recovering from the flu).

3. To brainstorm.

Another one of my favorites, but it’s important to know what your objectives are before you sit down and start spitballing. Also, make sure that’s what you’re after: in its purest form, brainstorming should be a nonjudgmental meeting of the minds. So if you’re hoping to get your agenda through untrammeled, you might want to wait for another meeting.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Have I left out any other solid reasons for having a meeting? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: Myk Martinez/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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