If you work in any sort of professional  environment, you’ve likely experienced “meeting culture.” It’s one of the worst practices we’ve picked up–one that was likely exacerbated during the pandemic when meetings were the only form of (virtual) connection with colleagues.

But now that that whole thing is behind us, I believe it’s high time to revisit our approach.

The only real reason we communicate is to shift perception in some way. Which is why “FYI-ing” is so bad for business.

Hear me out:

Before people walk (or click) into a meeting, it’s important to consider what they think, feel or believe. You spend your 30 or 50 minutes talking about a given subject. When those same people leave (or close) that meeting, what do they then think, feel or believe given the information discussed? In essence, what changed?

If your attendees don’t know how to think, feel or be different as a result of the information you’ve shared in your meeting, you haven’t helped them. Calling a meeting to “FYI” a long list of information doesn’t do anything. (Now you get the name!)

So many people go into meetings and just “FYI” everybody ad nauseam. “I’m just giving you this update,” “I’m just sharing this information”… but WHY?

Those are the worst kinds of meetings–for employee engagement, performance and morale. Most experts agree that they are a huge time-waster for every business. The human brain only has so much capacity for details, and by just delivering a long list of information, the attendees are then forced to figure out what’s relevant to them, what they need to internalize and what they can disregard.

This actually makes an employee’s job a lot harder.

However, if the meeting organizer is really thoughtful about the purpose of the meeting and what’s on the agenda, this time can be incredibly impactful for everyone involved. If you’re organizing a meeting, ask yourself: How does this information apply to those in attendance? Why should they care about this information? What will they do with this information as a result?

Once you nail those down, you can work backwards to really hit the mark on your messaging and deliver something that’s useful and transformational.

For example, if a meeting organizer knows that they want the attendees to see them as an expert in leadership and that they want each person to learn two or three new things that they can apply in their role, they can tailor the meeting and its agenda to those two outcomes.

I call this the “so what?” factor.

The organizer can tailor the agenda because they know that the attendees are aspiring to be better leaders. And so what? So, the organizer’s tips may be helpful in achieving that goal.

So the next time you want to host a 30-person update meeting, and regurgitate information that’s been passed down to you from your leaders, ask yourself how you can revisit your format to ensure that you’re not “FYI-ing” your team with piles of information they don’t need and that your agenda is relevant and useful.

Not only will this create a better culture, but you’ll also save your organization a lot of money. (Seriously, just doing the math on a 30-person meeting is enough to have financial departments canceling all meetings for the foreseeable future.)

Does your organization suffer from “FYI-ing”? Have you found a way to have more effective meetings? Join me on LinkedIn and let’s continue the conversation.

Share this