In general, meetings are a great way to get work done. They allow people with different areas of expertise to collaborate on problems or make decisions that affect their projects. When used correctly, meetings can be incredibly productive.
And while meetings are a necessary part of work, they can also be a colossal waste of time. If you or your team have too many meetings, it’s time to take action.
The first thing to do is identify the types of meetings you and your team have. Then think about how each meeting could be improved by replacing it with a different type of communication tool or process. This guide will show you how to eliminate unnecessary meetings and master meeting management so you can get more done outside of meetings than ever before.
Determine the purpose of the meeting.
Before you begin, you will want to determine what the purpose of your meeting is. This can help you decide on an agenda and keep your meeting focused. If there are multiple goals for your meetings, prioritize them in order of importance and assign each a time limit (e.g., 60 minutes or 30 minutes).
Once you’ve determined the purpose of the meeting, write down its goals clearly and concisely so that everyone involved knows what they’re aiming for. When setting these goals, make sure they’re:
- ambitious but realistic;
- measurable and quantifiable;
- open-ended so that everyone in attendance can contribute ideas toward achieving them
Is there a better way to get the results you want?
Many people simply sit in their meeting rooms and have long, unproductive discussions instead of planning how they will use their meeting time more effectively. This is not only ineffective; it’s also expensive for both the business and its employees.
If you want to improve your productivity and eliminate unnecessary meetings from your schedule, there are some easy steps that will help:
- Use tools such as Google Calendar or Doodle Polls that allow participants to vote on whether or not they’d like a particular meeting. If there’s no consensus, then don’t hold it!
- Determine ahead of time what needs discussing at each meeting. When attendees know what they need before they arrive they stay focused on relevant topics instead of wandering off into tangents (which happens often enough anyway).
Exploring unconventional meeting types
When you’ve run out of options for improving your meetings, it’s time to think outside the box. Here are some unconventional meeting types that allow you to keep things fresh and spark new ideas:
Blogging sessions—have everyone write a blog post about their thoughts on the topic at hand before meeting; then meet and edit each other’s posts to create a final product that can be shared with the rest of your company or team.
Video conferencing—if you find yourself traveling often for work, consider using video conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom instead of constantly traveling back and forth between offices.
For example, hosting a happy hour or going on an adventure together are both fun and productive ways to get the team out of their comfort zones and thinking about work from different perspectives.
Decide who needs to be there.
One of the easiest ways to streamline a meeting is to decide who needs to be there. You should only invite people who are critical to the purpose of the meeting. This means that anyone invited should have clear goals and objectives, and should be given clear instructions on what they need to do before coming into the meeting. This will enable contribution from the start without requiring further explanation or discussion.
To get more organized, create a clear agenda for the meeting and send it out to your attendees a day or two ahead of time. Doing so will allow coworkers who might not otherwise be comfortable speaking up about their ideas, thoughts or concerns during meetings feel more confident presenting their feedback because they know the agenda ahead of time. (Tips on creating a clear agenda below)
Asking questions like “What do we need from this person?” or “What information do they have access to which can help us make decisions?” will help determine whether someone has enough relevant information to invite them into the conversation in person rather than just via email/IM/etc.
How do you work if everyone (and their mother) are invited to the meeting?
It might be tempting to invite everyone in your department to every meeting just because it’s easier than making attendees lists, but this practice will only lead to unnecessary disruptions. Instead, limit your meetings and make sure each one has clear objectives and agendas so that people are able to focus on what matters most at any given moment.
In addition, to better manage your time:
- Avoid large group meetings whenever possible. If possible, break up large group meetings into smaller ones with specific goals for each group. This will keep issues from being addressed too late or too quickly (neither one solves anything).
Set clear objectives and agenda.
Before the meeting, set clear objectives and agenda.
- Do you want to generate new ideas? Find solutions to problems? Reach a decision? If things get off track during your meetings, ask yourself: What are we trying to accomplish here? Is this getting us closer to our objective?
- Agree on the scope and time allocated for the meeting so everyone can be prepared. Is this project or initiative worth your time in a busy work schedule? Will you have enough people available when necessary (e.g., if someone is out sick)? Is there a better way to handle this task/issue/project than by having everyone sit around a conference table every week for two hours discussing it over pizza?
Interested in learning more about writing and timing your meetings to keep everyone on track? With Bloom Growth, you can split your meeting into sections based on your agenda with a visual timer for each section to keep your team on track. Learn more here.
Keep your meeting as short as possible.
- Keep the meeting short and to the point. Avoid going over the time allotted for your meeting to be respectful to your attendees.
- Use a timer to help keep everyone on track.
- If you can’t get to the point in 10 minutes, stop and schedule another meeting.
Use online scheduling tools to save everyone time and energy.
You can also use online scheduling tools to help organize meetings with clients and coworkers. These tools keep a detailed list of who is attending, as well as who is not. This means that you’re less likely to be surprised by someone not showing up. You can also use online scheduling software to send meeting invitations via email or text message, which will save everyone time and energy once they arrive at the meeting location!
Less meetings, more productivity.
With these simple steps, you can eliminate unnecessary meetings and get your team more productive. The first thing to do is use online scheduling tools. This way, everyone knows when the meeting is scheduled and they can plan around it. The second step is to review clear objectives and an agenda before starting the meeting. It’s also important to keep your meeting as short as possible so that everyone gets back to work quickly after attending it. Lastly, decide who needs to be there and don’t waste anyone’s time by making them come if they’re not needed!
If you follow these guidelines, your team will be more productive, getting more done outside of meetings than ever before!
Remember that meetings are essential tools for getting work done, but they can also be a significant drain on productivity and morale. If your meetings aren’t helping the company move forward, it might be time to rethink how you run them. By eliminating unnecessary meetings and following our tips on how to make the ones that remain more productive, you’ll see better results from your team in no time.
Is your organization struggling with meeting deadlines, determining accountabilities, or planning your projects in a way that excites and motivates your team?
Book a product tour with one of our expert team members to see how Bloom Growth’s meeting management and project management software can transform your business.