Meetings are the necessary evil standing between you and your team’s successful goals. However, it’s important to keep them operating as the productive tool they are intended to be, and know when they are imperative and when alternatives can be implemented.
Here are some tips to reduce the number of meetings you attend;
- Be responsive. Many meetings are scheduled because of lack of response via email. If you can respond in a timely manner via email, you should see a reduction in the number of meetings that are needed.
- Improve written communication. Meetings are often organized due to of lack of articulation via email. If you can communicate effectively via email, you should see a reduction in the number of meetings needed.
- Stay organized. Incorporating shared task lists and documents that can be updated by various team members should reduce the need to ‘check-in’. Consider sharing programs like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, or an even better option is a project management site like TeamWorkPM.
Some meetings are unavoidable and very beneficial. This is especially true when brainstorming or collaborating on anything creative. It’s important to reduce the amount of time spent in meetings.
Here are some tips to reduce the time spent in meetings;
- Use scheduling tools. If possible, use an online scheduling tool such as ScheduleOnce, Acuity, TimeTrade or even a shared Google Calendar to reduce the amount of time spent just choosing a meeting time and day.
- When possible meet online. This saves travel time, fuel costs, and may allow more flexibility for all involved. Plus, you can screen share and even record your meeting for reference afterward. Zoom, Skype, Join.me, GoToMeeting and Google Hangout are great options for web conferences.
- Have an agenda. Create an agenda and send it out to all attendees ahead of time. During the meeting, stay on track. Allocate time for each item on your agenda; be realistic and firm with a closing time.
- Have a Facilitator. Designate a single person to be ‘in charge’ of the meeting. Having a good facilitator helps keep everyone on track, reduces the amount of time wasted, and helps ensure that everyone is heard.
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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
– Helen Keller
You owe it to yourself and your team to discuss goals and targets while still being efficient and orderly. Be careful to remain an active listener to your team’s ideas and suggestions, which will allow them to take on more of an active role in the end result.