Ever been in a meeting that lasted forever? Ever listen to someone drone on forever while you count heads bobbing up and down? I’m sure we all have in our corporate careers. The lack of meeting focus, structure, and leadership. The tangents that are allowed and never end. Is there a remedy to this?
Fortunately there is. The remedy is Toastmasters. Founded in 1924, Toastmasters is an international public speaking club that teaches its members how to improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills by learning the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking. After attending my first meeting today, I was struck by how efficient the Toastmasters meetings themselves are. Every item on the agenda is timed down to the minute. Every time a speaker has presented, he or she must hand control back to the next speaker. The presiding officer of the meetings sets the overall tempo and structure of the meetings. Not a minute is wasted. Everything is timed and evaluated. Random selection of speakers and topics is the norm. Most speakers are not allowed time for preparation and must think on their feet.
Corporations place enormous expectations on employees to be efficient in their work habits to boost productivity. Why can’t they set better expectations on running more efficient meetings? If you were to add up the wasted time in every inefficient meeting in a given fiscal year, it would be days. OK, I have already gone over my allocated time for this post. I now send you off to your next 3 hour meeting.
More information on Toastmasters International can be found here.