How to Kill Needless Meetings: 7 Tips
This article was originally published by Carla Rudder in The Enterprisers Project. In the article she neatly outlines some great ideas to have fewer meetings and make the ones you keep more effective. She also quotes Synlio President Matt Wolach who talks about how Synlio has decreased meetings to better improve how they create RFP automation software.
Stuck in recurring meeting madness? Leaders share their tips for how to have fewer, better meetings
We've all spent days in back-to-back meetings, shuffling from one conference room to the next as the hours tick by, lamenting the time we could be spending on actual work. If we are lucky enough to have one meeting-free day a week, we guard it with our lives.
If the majority of people can relate, why do we all seem to be stuck in meeting madness? Because despite the annoyance factor, meetings have clear benefits, points out Alexander S. Lowry, professor of finance at Gordon College.
"They are essential for enabling collaboration, creativity, and innovation. They often foster relationships and ensure proper information exchange," says Lowry. "Yet the excessive meeting culture drives most people bonkers."
"Every minute spent in a wasteful meeting eats into time for solo work that’s equally essential for creativity and efficiency," he adds. "Even more important is that meetings interrupt the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. As a consequence, people tend to come to work early, stay late, or use weekends for quiet time to concentrate."
CIOs and leaders who are having trouble finding the balance between meeting time and individual work – for themselves and for their team – should consider the following tips to slash the number of meetings and make the remaining ones better.
"Only have a meeting if a decision needs to be made. Meetings can be an effective way to discuss ideas and information, but all talk leads to not much happening. Thus, we only schedule a meeting if we know the outcome will result in a decision. For information gathering, we employ technology like Slack or email in order to allow our staff to communicate and address any issues before the meeting. This has led to a 45 percent decrease in weekly meetings for us and those we kept are now shorter. We also employ a parking lot of off-topic ideas. If anything arises in a meeting which is not the basis for the meeting, we put that topic on the parking lot so that we can address it outside of the meeting." – Matthew Wolach, President, Synlio
Shorten meetings by 15 minutes
“We schedule meetings that would typically be an hour to be 45 minutes and require they have an agenda. The shortened time keeps...