Want to improve your meetings? Let’s face a simple fact – a leading component in the planning and execution of a meeting is simple inertia. We have our weekly meeting on Friday morning because we … have our weekly meeting on Friday morning. How could we not have this meeting? We’ve been doing it for years, so let’s just keep doing it.
The only problem is that on Friday morning, everyone has a million other things to do. The meeting may offer a break from the hectic barrage of tasks and a chance to sip coffee and chat a little, but that often signifies that it’s a time waster. One way to streamline your meetings is to simply get rid of those you don’t need.
Go through your meeting calendar and ask yourself the following questions.
Is There a Clear Agenda?
From a frequently referenced study conducted by 3M of 900 meetings from US companies, 63% of them were conducted without an agenda. The research was conducted in 1990, but found that meetings with agendas run more efficiently and yield more actionable results is still relevant.
Do you have a clear agenda or are you just touching base? Clarify the goal of the meeting and often this will help you realize whether or not it’s truly necessary.
Do You Need Everyone to Attend?
Your meeting consists of six people but do they all need to be there? Is this an issue that is strictly relevant to all six of them? If it’s an issue between you and one other person or a small group, consider canceling the meeting and having an informal chat instead.
Do You Need Real-Time Conversation?
Some issues require real-time conversation. They require the back and forth that you can only have through meeting people face-to-face. Others can easily be resolved through email. For example, if you have a simple idea on how to deal with a problem and you need your team member’s yay or nay, it can be done through email.
Do You Need Input?
Sometimes we call meetings but actually the purpose is to inform the members of something. In this case, you don’t really need their input, so don’t need to hold the meeting. Again, you can make your announcement over email.
Is Now the Best Time?
You might have a meeting that you deem important, but is now the right time to have it? If you postpone it to a later date, will you have more information that will influence the outcome of the meeting?
What Would Happen If You Didn’t Hold the Meeting?
This question is easy to consider. If the answer to this question is “Nothing,” cross it off your calendar.
By meeting only when it’s necessary and you have a clear goal, you’ll save a great deal of time in planning and executing your meetings, and your team members will thank you for it.