Are you looking for a way to drastically cut down on wasted time and energy in your office?
Do you want to have more time to actually work on your assigned projects and tasks?
Well, you might want to think twice about calling that meeting…
Meetings are the number-one time drain in any office.
Just ask any office worker, and they’ll tell you either their company holds too many meetings an/or they attend way too many meetings.
How many hours could be utilized if we managed to reduce the amount of meetings held on any given day?
It’s worth thinking about.
In this post, I offer several reasons as to why holding meetings is severely overrated, and what you can do to correct this rampant epidemic as a meeting organizer.
Meetings are no more important than non-meeting work.
Meetings do have a place in this world, sadly, they are highly overused and overvalued. Let’s get things straight: a meeting is simply a gathering of people at a specific location, time, and date to discuss a certain topic. That’s it.
Meetings shouldn’t be idolized as fabulous, glamorous gatherings and shouldn’t receive any more attention or recognition than routine work. Nor should meetings be thought of as a quick-fix that will conveniently solve a problem. The majority of meetings don’t solve a problem, they only add-on to a problem that has already gone horribly out of control.
If we were to quantitatively look at meeting vs. non-meeting time, we would see that a meeting is just a fleeting one-time event. A couple of hours spend in a conference room, making key decisions, and that’s that. But the real work is put in during all those non-meeting hours, day-in, and day-out. A plan developed in a meeting is nothing without execution.
If you’re a meeting organizer: Avoid putting additional stress on the value of a meeting. We’ve all heard that too many times before; every meeting is now “important!” Instead, turn your focus to running a well-planned and efficiently run meeting. Your meeting should have a specific end goal in mind, a well-crafted agenda, and should end on time.
Holding too many meetings is inefficient for everyone.
A meeting at 10 A.M., 1 P.M., 2 P.M., 4 P.M…well, that’s a fine schedule when it comes to attending meetings, but not so much if you have other, non-meeting work that needs to be completed.
Far too many people have their schedules filled with back-to-back, poorly, run, and completely unnecessary meetings. After attending a meeting, they go back to their desk to get started on their work, but it’s already the end of the day! No wonder people are putting in more hours at the office, are burned out and exhausted.
If you’re a meeting organizer, things aren’t much better. Holding too many meetings means hours upon hours spent booking meeting locations, selecting and inviting attendees, preparing materials, holding the meeting itself, and doing meeting follow-up. That’s an incredible amount of time to be spent on something that isn’t really necessary.
If you’re a meeting organizer: Only call meetings when it is 100%, absolutely necessary. Information presented in a meeting should be new, timely and relevant. Meeting attendees should contribute to the meeting and provide feedback when called upon. If none of these criteria are met, do not call a meeting. Instead of holding a meeting, have a brief chat or phone call with key players, or develop a well-crafted memo that can be circulated internally.
Reevaluate the length of each of your meetings.
A ninety-minute meeting here, a two-hour meeting there, a three-hour meeting there. Longer hours means more productivity and more accomplishments, right? Hmm, well the only thing I can think of when it comes to longer meetings, is that they bring more boredom…
Meetings do not have to be long in order to be effective. It all depends on the goal of the meeting and whether the meeting is held efficiently. A well-run fifteen-minute staff protocol meeting can run twenty laps around a poorly run fifty-minute staff protocol meeting any day of the week.
The idea is not to stretch time within in a meeting, but to effectively use that time. This means properly presenting information, receiving feedback, making decisions, and ending the meeting on schedule.
If you’re a meeting organizer: Take a look at each of your regularly scheduled meetings. Do they run long? If so, where could you trim the fat? Was the meeting length a holdover from some other office era or meeting organizer? Could you get through the meeting in half that amount of time? A third? What agenda items are truly necessary? Does the agenda need 25 items? And, when in doubt about whether or not you should hold a meeting, don’t. You’ll save yourself and others valuable time.
How about you? Does your office hold too many meetings? How many hours per week do you think could you save if unnecessary meetings were cancelled? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!