The belief that gathering well is fundamental to helping businesses move forward is at the core of what we do. It’s why we put so much thought into planning and running great workshops and spend so much time thinking about how we can help teams meet effectively. However, time and time again we see clients whose number one complaint is that they spend too much time in meetings. This is particularly problematic at the moment, as all our meetings are online, which can lead to the dreaded Zoom fatigue.
Part of the reason that meetings can take over our working lives is that they become a default, something we do on autopilot rather than really thinking about it. Other reasons include the fear of offending people by not inviting them to the meeting and a healthy dose of covering our backs.
Once we all stop being meeting-zombies, our work life tends to become much more efficient and enjoyable.
It doesn’t take much to start to challenge autopilot meeting culture and turn meetings into productive, useful gatherings. Asking yourself three simple questions each time you’re organising a meeting is a good start:
What is the purpose of this meeting? Does it require people to actually be together or is it more about disseminating information, in which case could it be done in writing. You should write the aims and agenda of every meeting in the invite, and recap them at the start.
Who needs to be at this meeting? Am I inviting Fred from accounting just so he doesn’t feel left out, or is he actually going to contribute? Would he value getting this hour of his life back and a succinct email summarising what happened in the meeting? Smaller meetings with key decision makers tend to be much more effective.
How long does this meeting need to be? We tend to default to using the 30 and 60 minute slots in our calendars, rather than actually thinking about the time needed. A good way to start it challenging yourself to make 60 minute meetings 40 minutes and 30 minute meetings 20 minutes.
If you’re invited to a meeting and you get the impression that the organiser hasn’t asked themselves this question, see if you can find a polite way to ask the questions yourself. Once we all stop being meeting-zombies, our work life tends to become much more efficient and enjoyable.
If you think you and your team need a bit of help changing some of your work habits, get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com to find out about the training and facilitation we offer.