January 19, 2018

The case for shorter meetings

If productivity is on your New Year’s resolutions list, you’re in luck. Here are some tips on how to make those weekly meetings more efficient.

When your team gets together, its members should leave feeling inspired. So why are there times when an entire department discusses an issue that only affects two people? And why are two hours spent on something could have been communicated via email?

Thankfully, the transition from overlong to effective is not difficult. Use these tips to energize and streamline your meetings.

Short and sweet

It’s rare when someone claims a meeting was too short. That’s why you should aim for every team gathering to be less than 30 minutes. To make this happen, you need to create a clear agenda, send it to attendees in advance, and stick to it.

When everyone knows why they’re in the room, you can skip the explainers and jump right into content. Plus, it will be crystal clear when the meeting is over–– you checked the last point off the agenda! Simple, right? All it takes is a little more planning beforehand.

“This could have been an email”

What’s better than shorter meetings? No meetings! Believe it or not, a lot of team check-ins can be replaced with an email. Folks will be far more succinct in their response, and it will give back valuable time to everybody’s work day. You’re welcome.

If email isn’t official enough, print out a team digest on Postcards at the end of each month to hand out to your office. Include all of the important wins and updates from your team and any other relevant updates that can take the place of a meeting.

Shorter Meetings

Keep action items in mind

The focus of all meetings should be sharing information and acting on plans. That’s why, as David Allen emphasizes in Getting Things Done, it’s essential to always know what your next step is. There’s no point in having a meeting if folks don’t know how to move forward!

Be clear of what your action items are for each team member. The next time you meet, spend the first few minutes going over each item from the previous week before you work towards the next.

Try taking the chairs out of your meeting room for a day. We guarantee that no one will go 15 minutes over time again.

Be a stand up leader

Folks in the tech world really value productivity–– which is why most of their meetings are “stand ups.” In other words, everyone is on their feet. It’s pretty easy to figure out why–– when people aren’t allowed to sit in a meeting, the agenda goes by a lot more quickly.

If you don’t believe us, try taking the chairs out of your meeting room for a day. We guarantee that no one will go 15 minutes over time again.

Not sure how to optimize this type of team meeting? Try the Spotify model, as explained by Agile Coach Jason Yip: Share an understanding of your goals, coordinate efforts, share problems and improvements, and do something to identify as a team. For example, the Spotify team ends by yelling, “1…2…3… Excelsior!” Silly, sure. But it ends things on a high note, and helps everyone feel like part of a unit.

Make your meetings matter

Get your team together only when it’s necessary. Not only will this save time, but it will give folks more to share when you actually do get together. Work with your team to clear out any recurring meetings that occupy precious time their calendars.

More productivity time means more time to make a difference in your day-to-day schedule. And a leaner calendar will help you and your team focus on what matters most.

Print your meeting agendas on Flyers.


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