noun, plural synergies.
the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
Certainly meetings do that when you get the right people together at the right time to address a common problem or opportunity. In a perfect world this powerful collaboration will produce results that are unbelievable. However, ……
When the wrong combination of players are assembled the obvious results are bad (or no) decisions, waste of time and damaged morale. Typically this occurs when:
1. There is not a clearly defined stated purpose for the meeting. If you don’t know where you are going any path will get you there. Have an agenda and any supporting visual aides.
2. The facilitator (or lack thereof) does not keep the discussion ‘on topic’
3. The group does not have the authority required to implement a change. Usually this collection of problem definers share their opinions on ‘how bad things are’ with no solution or even a recommendation to present to the group or individual with the power to do something.
1. Whether meeting face to face, conference (audio) call, or video Skype or Google Hangout START ON TIME. Respect those who are ready to start and waiting for you. When someone joins late they either miss part of the discussion, or worse, make the others have to reenact the previous portion.
2. Don’t interrupt the person speaking. It breaks their chain of thought and is confusing to others. Sometimes these lively interactions can lead to non productive arguments with negative outcomes.
3. Pay attention and listen carefully to the person speaking. Do not be reading a newspaper, texting on your phone, etc.
3. On audio or video conference calls do not be ‘tapping your pencil’ on the table or other distracting noises. You probably don’t even realize you are doing it but drives the others on the call crazy. Same with music or other background sounds. It is usually best to keep your microphone muted until you need to speak.
4. Don’t even meet without a reason. The “we always get together at this place and time” is no excuse for meeting. If it is a scheduled meeting where everyone knows what is being presented and discussed, limit the time to just that. Don’t fall into the “work expands to fill the time allotted” pattern.
and last …. SIZE MATTERS!
My experience is the effectiveness of the meeting is inversely proportional to the size of the group.