One busy Wednesday morning, I walked into my co-worker’s classroom and asked, “Are we meeting today? I didn’t see any agenda so I didn’t know if we needed to meet.”
Without skipping a beat, he replied, “Yes. We are meeting because it’s Wednesday.” There I sat for the next 30 minutes, mostly thinking about everything else I needed to be doing during that time. Internally, I rolled my eyes at the idea that to some people meetings are just items on the calendar and not constructed out of necessity.
I know meetings are not a new complaint. Meetings and email are probably the two most corporate complaints that exist. Ultimately, what frustrates people most about meetings is the message they send when they don’t fulfill a real purpose: we don’t value your time.
Of course, if I were in charge, every meeting would include snacks, therefore establishing the significance of the meeting. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge and do not possess unlimited funds to provide snacks for all the meetings teachers have to endure. I have, however, read up on The Science of Meetings by Steven G. Rogelberg who literally wrote a book on the subject. There were several key takeaways.
Tips for Making Teacher Meetings Better, According to Science:
- If there is no agenda, there should not be a meeting. Sounds obvious, but every teacher I know has been to a meeting without clear items for discussion.
- “Bad Meeting Hangovers” are real. A recent study found that after a bad meeting employees spend a few hours complaining and grumbling. This is known as “meeting recovery syndrome.”
- Use the talent in the room. Collaborate on the agenda. Make choices. Decide who needs to be in the room and what goals need to be accomplished. This not only encourages relevance but also ownership involving the people in the room.
- Do not schedule meetings too frequently or for too long. Some meetings may only need to be 15 minutes long.
- Allow others to talk. The leader should not be the only one to speak. Create an environment where employees can discuss ideas and think critically about the subjects at hand.
- For meetings with a larger amount of people and ones that run for over 15 minutes, invite attendees to stand. This has been proven to boost the efficiency of the meeting.
- Hold meetings out of necessity, not habit.
- Remember the joke I made about having snacks at every meeting? Steven G. Rogelberg agrees! The meeting starts as soon as attendees enter the room. Greet them with music, snacks, and gratitude for their time.
- Open the meeting with an explanation of why you gathered everyone.
- Not only is time wasted, but for some careers, money can actually be lost as well. More than $30 billion a year in the United States alone is estimated to be lost during pointless meetings.
What are your tips to make teacher meetings better? Share in the comments below!
Want more articles like this? Sign up for our newsletters!