I’m not a big proponent of meetings. In a few cases I think they can help brainstorm good ideas, make decisions quickly, and make big changes decisively. But, for the most part I think the time could be spent better (either doing more productive work or enjoying relationships with those we love).
One big reason I think people like to have meetings is so that they can process their ideas outloud. But, why take up someone else’s time while you process something? Instead I like to use email or comments on my project management system, Basecamp to get feedback. And I don’t think I’m being a jerk about it. My reasoning is that using these tools forces you to write out your thoughts. And I believe you don’t have a firm grasp on your thoughts until you are able to write them out.
Writing out your thoughts and opinions on something compels you to really assess what’s going on in your head. Until someone else can understand it, there’s a good chance you don’t understand it either. You see my point? I’ve had the idea for this blog post for months now, but it just stays a floating mess of thoughts until I capture it and put it down in words. Then I’ve constrained my thoughts into something concrete that can be understood and assessed by others.
Writing it out goes for more than just getting your opinions and thoughts out. It also works for showing you can synthesize information into knowledge. It’s why we all had to write book reports in school instead of just telling the teacher we read the book. It’s one reason why writing a blog can help show that you are an expert in your field. Putting your knowledge down for everyone else to read proves you’re not just a smooth talker. You’re going on record to show you know what you’re talking about, and it can be proven.
So, make sure you know what you’re thinking and prove it to others – write it out.