Productivity Friday: Redeeming Meetings

Meetings are a necessary evil the world of business. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves as we all shuffle off to the 50th directionless meeting of the month.

Did you know that the average employee in America attends 62 meetings per month?! That is insane. Not to mention a huge time and money waster. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I know that some meetings are absolutely necessary – but certainly not 62 every month, right? There’s a ton of time to be saved from unproductive meetings, but how can go about that task?

Today we’ll look at two ways to save your business was meeting waste: having less meeting and making your remaining meeting more productive.

Fewer Meetings, More Productivity

The first step in saving your productivity from meetings is to have less of them. For many established businesses, there has been a schedule in place for years – and everyone is following it out of habit. The first step is to take a serious look at your meeting schedule.

Are there redundancies or meeting that consistently waste time? Be ruthless and cut those meetings from your schedule – tradition be damned. Next, take an honest assessment of the remaining meetings. Are they serving a valuable function? Do they increase the productivity of your team? At this point, it might be helpful to get input from everyone who attends these meetings.

If they’re not helping you get more done, then what are they doing? If there’s no clear advantage or goal – send them to the scrap heap with the rest. At this point, cutting so many meetings might seem too drastic, but that’s only if you don’t optimize your remaining meetings to be more efficient. Let’s take a look at that now.

Efficient Meetings, Efficient Workplaces

If you want to have fewer meetings, you have to have more efficient meetings. This will mean something different for each business, but there are a few universals to leading effective meetings:

  • Have an Agenda – I hope everyone knows this. But it is shocking how many meetings are conducted with no clear agenda. If you want to get things done, you need a clear agenda and you need to stick to it.
  • Have a Leader – An agenda is worthless if the meeting has no leader. The leader needs to have the strength of personality to keep things on topic and moving.
  • Have a Goal – Meetings for the sake of meetings are always a waste. Go into every meeting with a clear and defined goal and watch your productivity skyrocket. Beyond just having a goal – track your meeting ROI just like any other aspect of your business.
  • Have a Communication Tool – If you save everything for meetings, you’ll never stick to the agenda. So, it is vital to have a way for team members to communicate easily and quickly outside of meetings. We use Slack, but the specific tool doesn’t matter – just find one that works.
  • Don’t Have a Seat – This one might sound a bit crazy, but it works. I promise. Try having a meeting where you don’t sit down. It doesn’t work for every situation – but nothing keeps a meeting moving like standing up. It is the stand-up desk of the meeting world – and even if you’re skeptical just give it a try!

Putting it All Together

By combining fewer meetings with more efficient meetings, we can revolutionize our productivity. The Atlassian study referenced above found that each and every employee spends 31 hours in unproductive meetings in a month. That is a huge waste of time and resources.
Redeem that time for something productive by re-thinking your meeting mindset. There are about $37 billion dollars to be saved – but it will take some dedication and commitment to a new mindset.

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