I was in a meeting this week where I overheard another attender saying that they “hated” meetings.
I will be the first to say that I am not a fan of meetings. I used to think that they were a big waste of time. After all, why couldn’t we just be doing the things we were talking about and save the time (and boredom) of sitting and talking about the action we were going to take.
However, I now realize that meetings are important. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. It keeps focus on the mission.
Everyone is working toward a goal and sometimes we are so busy working on our part that we forget that there is a bigger picture, of which we are a part. Meeting with the whole team reminds everyone about the bigger mission that is trying to be accomplished and can re-direct energy toward the greater purpose
2. Generates energy around the question, “What’s next?”
It is difficult to replace sitting around a table, seeing and hearing the passion in the voice of a team member. Their passion inspires others to increase their effort for the work they are doing on a project or event. When the team hears someone talk about it—when they get a glimpse of the vision for “what’s next,” it creates an energy that you cannot generate otherwise.
3. Allows for synergistic feedback that is difficult through other formats.
There is something about brainstorming ideas that creates something better than any one person could create on their own. Around the office we often say, “Sometimes you have to start with a bad idea in order to get a to a good one.” When you try and plan, or brainstorm, by email the feedback is usually pretty poor. However, when someone gives an idea (even a bad one), it can cause the creative juices of other team members begin to flow and make the original idea even better. This is hard to recreate over email or other formats.
4. Allows the team to see non-verbal communication.
It is said that much of communication is non-verbal.  The leader of a team cannot see the doubt, questions, or fears of their team over email. It is very easy to see if you have immediate buy-in or if there are lots of questions to answer when you can see the non-verbal reactions of your team members. Additionally, team members get to see the reactions of other team members. It is hard to detect tone through email. When you are looking a team member in the eye, giving them feedback is often done in a kinder, gentler way that takes their reactions into account—as they are speaking.
There are many other reasons why meetings are important, tell me about them in the comments below.