How many meetings do you have a day or a week? Are they all necessary and useful? If your answer comes with rolling eyes and a sigh of frustration, do something about it. Don’t waste more of your valuable time. Instead gain some white space in your calendar.
Here are seven tips to streamline your meeting landscape:
Preparation: You don’t need a detailed agenda but rather a rough framework for what has to be discussed. Yes, I know that not everyone is and can be always prepared. This way you make sure that everyone involved is on the same page.
Who needs to be there: Many meetings could be substituted with a one-page summary. A meeting is there for discussion or brainstorming but not for endless monologues. The attention span decreases minute by minute, after 20 minutes at the latest nobody listens anymore.
Before you start: Clarify the goal with one question: What do we want today’s outcome to be?
Track the time: Distribute time equally, there are people you never hear speaking, and there are those who love to hear themselves speak. Keeping the time, thanking them for their contribution, and muting the microphone when the time is over, helps solving these problems permanently.
Too much or not enough time: If you see that all points have been covered, its time to call it a day. Have the courage to finish early. Your colleagues will be happy to be back at their desks or just enjoy a break they were given. You didn’t have enough time to cover everything? Shorten the points on the agenda for next time. Be realistic.
At the end of the meeting: Two more questions for you to ask: What is todays outcome? What are the action points? Done. Don’t waste time with strenuous minutes. The answers to the above two questions are more than enough.
No meetings after meetings: In some organizations I see people being quite or busy with answering their emails while sitting in a meeting. After the meeting is over, they ask their colleagues for another meeting on topics that just had been discussed. They are wasting their own and everybody else’s time. Don’t let this happen to you.
To less meetings and more white space in your calendar!