Meetings are likely to occur during a typical workday, whether you work in an office or from home. When combined with your employment responsibilities, the number of meetings over the day or week may occasionally feel excessive. It will be easier for you to manage your time if you learn to minimize the number of meetings you hold or attend. This article will cover the reasons why businesses frequently hold too many meetings and online calls as well as strategies you may use to cut down on their frequency in your schedule.
Why you may be having unnecessary meetings
Businesses hold a lot of pointless meetings for a variety of reasons.
- There may not be any defined meeting goals or objectives, there may not be a suitable agenda or preparation, there may not be any follow-up or accountability, or there may be a culture that views meetings as a method to show significance or busyness.
- Some businesses hold a lot of pointless meetings as a result of unclear communication routes or a lack of team member confidence.
- Another reason for too many meetings, here we are speaking about online ones, lies in the too-simple addition of a person to the rally. You have decided to organize a discussion of some issue and are thinking of whom to call. Why not call everyone? After all, all you need to do is add them to a special field and make sure that everyone has free time. That is all! And having received an invitation to an important discussion, few people will refuse so easily.
- When the group makes a specific decision after a meeting, it is successful. Make sure your judgments are worthwhile rather than simply “discussing things” and recording them. You are wasting time and only adding to the overabundance of meetings on your team by not taking any actions and merely “discussing” the issue without specific next measures. An online meeting that did not lead to any specific decision will result in only one thing – a new online meeting.
Ways to reduce meetings
Prepare a schedule for the meeting
Prepare an agenda where speeches on each of the points are regulated (you determine the number of points yourself), and send it to colleagues for review. It is important to control the timing of the meeting, allocated to each question, and not to the entire discussion. Determine in advance the plan and structure of the discussion, starting with the topic, and goals and ending with the documents prepared for reading. This will be much more effective than navigating the situation already at the discussion itself.
Set a minimum of time for the performance
Short speeches and answers are always more focused. This does not mean that everyone needs to allocate three minutes for everything about everything. It is worth being guided by common sense and letting other people express their thoughts. However, if there is no clear limit, there is a temptation to tell even about what could be omitted. And if you do not have time to fully discuss some important issues, it is better to appoint a separate call.
To reduce the number of general calls with top management, you can put all team members waiting in a phone call queue and simply redirect them to the necessary departments to resolve issues.
Make a “no-meeting” day
A day without no meetings is precisely what it seems to be: a meeting-free day! Your team colleagues will nonetheless value a day without meetings. Everyone can participate more effectively in the meetings you have the rest of the week if there are no in-person or online meetings for one day. Additionally, staff members get to benefit from uninterrupted production.
Evaluate your team’s meetings
Start by reviewing the meetings you are already holding or attending if you want to cut back on the number of meetings in your schedule or for your team. This phase will assist you in figuring out whether you are making the most use of your time or whether you can cut down on the number of meetings in your existing team schedule. Consider the following inquiries while evaluating meetings:
- What is the purpose of this meeting?
- Are there multiple meetings with the same goal? Can we combine these meetings or replace them with other methods of communication??
- Does this meeting provide value for all its participants?
- Do people voluntarily attend this meeting?
You can determine the meetings that do not help you or your team members by responding to these questions. Making judgments regarding what to take off the schedule can be straightforward. You can also try to come up with strategies to make the schedule of meetings better, including substituting brief phone chats for meetings or consolidating them into a single weekly meeting.
Create a newsletter based on the meeting’s outcomes
Within a day, the information letter summarizing the meeting’s outcomes must be completed. The key choices made during the meeting, task completion dates, and accountable parties should all be included. The involved employees are on the mailing list.
Decline invitations whenever possible
One strategy to cut back on the number of meetings per day or week is to refuse them more often when there is such an opportunity. When you receive an invitation, carefully study the agenda of the meeting to understand what the participants will discuss or what goals they want to achieve. If there is no agenda for the meeting, consider asking the moderator about these plans so that you can assess whether your presence is necessary. For example, they may want to know about the status of the project, and you will most likely be able to provide them with this information by email.
Sometimes you may be invited to meetings out of politeness, but if you have nothing to help, you can refuse. You can be polite by telling the host that you cannot attend the meeting, but you will be happy to review the meeting recordings and offer your opinion or suggestions, if necessary. Or you can explain by pointing out that you do not have important information to contribute, and you can instead respond by email, via messaging apps, or a short call.
Schedule personal time in your calendar
Each person may have a different time of day when feeling more productive, for example, in the morning or afternoon. If your team uses a shared calendar, you can block it without meeting time during your most productive hours. By scheduling their focus of minutes or hours, you convince colleagues that you are busy and cannot attend meetings at this time unless it is urgent.
Rather than attending meetings, You can direct your energy and attention toward finishing projects from your to-do list or more complicated responsibilities without interruptions. Allocating this time will help reduce the number of invitations you receive, and your colleagues can look for more effective ways to collaborate or communicate with you. For example, if they know they can not schedule a 30-minute meeting with you at 11 a.m., they can send you an email or an instant message that you can reply to.
Distribute the responsibility in advance
Before important meetings, always try to single out people who influence decisions and colleagues who will be affected by the decision. You can use the RACI matrix for this. This approach will help to systematically take into account all factors. Otherwise, you may not get a fundamentally important opinion or inform the one who will participate in the execution of the tasks outlined during the call
Take care of time
If you are the organizer, make sure that all important participants will be able to call at the specified time. Without them, the call will be ineffective. But for everyone else interested, you can simply send a fall-up. Also notify about the event in advance, preferably a week or at least a day or two in advance, so that everyone can plan the time.
Schedule an event in the calendar, then make an email newsletter to all participants, and then send reminders to the working chat 10-15 minutes before the calls and tag those whose presence is mandatory separately.
Keep track of meetings with optional attendance
Can you record online meetings using your video conferencing programs? If so, be sure to press Record before discussing anything crucial.
You can make the tape of the meeting available to anyone unable to attend after it has concluded. In this manner, everyone is kept informed without being overburdened.
The exact response is dependent on several variables, including the industry you operate in, the type of work you perform, the role of your team, and how you interact with other teams both inside and outside of your organization. Some of these variables may change over time, depending on your company’s seasonality or how well you are doing with a particular project, like launching a new product.
The efficiency of the entire team is impacted by excessive meeting frequency, which can also lower motivation and spirit. It is reasonable: how are you going to complete your real work if you are continuously engaging in meetings?
- When a few things take place around meetings, employees become irritated. First of all, they perceive the meeting to be a time waster, and they even do not know the reason why they are required to be present (so only invite those who are necessary to attend every online call).
- Second, they become dissatisfied that they are seated in a meeting rather than at their workspace, where they could complete their work faster (therefore making the most of their time there, not yours).
- Or, thirdly, they become angry that they are not trusted to do their jobs by a supervisor who believes they must keep close tabs on every move (so give your staff the freedom to make decisions without you). All of this is a formula for disaster because it frequently results in employees looking to leave, and the ensuing personnel turnover may be fatal to a young business that needs to move forward as rapidly as possible.
Meetings are essential for efficient communication and teamwork, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It is time to alter things if you see declining productivity levels and disinterested personnel throughout your meetings. It may seem odd to cancel most meetings, especially if you are used to having them take up half of your calendar. However, everyone must analyze their existing workflows and gain a greater grasp of what work will look like in the future if they are to become more productive and effective at their jobs.