Meetings are an important and necessary part of working in a team environment. But if you find yourself staring at the calendar and gritting your teeth at the number of meetings scheduled, you have crossed over into the realm of “too many meetings.”
In the US, 55 million meetings are held every week. Of these meetings, 71% are considered unproductive. And on top of it all, Zoom fatigue is a thing, which is burnout from having too many virtual meetings.
Meet with intention and purpose, and gain time back in your day with these tips.
Come into meetings with an agenda
Agendas help establish the goals and objectives of the meeting. If you can’t think of any goals or objectives, chances are it’s a meeting you can cancel. Prepare the agenda a few days in advance and send it to the participants, so they have a chance to look it over and prepare any questions, thoughts, or materials for the conversation.
Schedule shorter meetings
If you’ve scheduled a 30-minute meeting and covered all you needed to talk about in 15 minutes, there’s no law saying you must sit around twiddling your thumbs for the remaining 15 minutes. Once you’re finished, end the meeting early. Experiment with making meetings under 20 minutes—enough time to cover your agenda but short enough to maintain attention and not interfere too much with your team’s schedule.
Make meeting attendance optional
Meetings need to have value to those attending. When scheduling a meeting, ensure that only the people who need to be there are there. Otherwise, discussions could get too far off track or people attending are wasting their time in irrelevant conversations. Any team members who don’t need to be at the meeting should be told that the meeting is optional, and if necessary, you can send out notes to people who don’t attend.
Encourage scheduling “meeting-free” times
When people have blocks of uninterrupted time to complete tasks, they are at their most productive. Encourage your employees to schedule “no meeting” times on their calendars. Multitasking is a myth; our brains cannot focus on more than one task at a time. Having meeting-free times and blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on tasks helps employees get more done; which, in turn, helps your business and your employees’ mental health.
When a meeting is synchronous, it means everyone needs to be at the meeting at the same time—examples are in-person, over the phone, and Zoom meetings. But what if you have a team that spans multiple time zones, or even multiple countries? In this case, try the opposite and embrace asynchronicity.
Asynchronous meetings take place solely through communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. These kinds of meetings allow people to communicate on their schedule, ask questions, and absorb information at their own pace.
Transition daily huddle meetings to electronic tools
Often, companies hold short sprints or daily meetings. These meetings are usually reserved for checking in with employees and how they’re doing with their goals or projects. Try this experiment: set up a channel in your Slack or Teams channel as a “daily meeting” channel. Send a message, such as: “@everyone, what is on your agenda today?” Or you can include a “daily agenda” section in your project management software that asks team members the same question.
These electronic interactions can save time. If employees have a question, they can drop you a message instead of scheduling a block of meeting time with you.
Use other methods of presentation
Consider if the information you need to talk about can be presented to your colleagues differently, such as via video, PowerPoint, or email. If so, either make a video or PowerPoint or send your colleagues an email with the information that would have been covered in the meeting.
Make meetings intentional
Meetings enable collaboration, creativity, and innovation and foster company culture. But having too many meetings can cost time and money for you, your employees, and your business, creating more problems than benefits. Give all of your meetings intention and purpose and help your team gain back the time you need.
Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
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