I can’t think of anyone who actually gets excited when a meeting reminder pops up on their calendar. In fact, most of us cringe and secretly hope the fire alarm will go off just as we get close to the conference room door. To make matters worse, in today’s business world, meetings account for most of our weekly activities. Horrible thought, I know. But test it out. Pull up your calendar and look at next week. Now, count the number of meetings and pretend for a moment they weren’t there. How much free time would you have to get other stuff accomplished? With all that in mind, below are a few reminders about our old friend the meeting.
Meetings Cost Money
Time is only one of the variables. Every time you sit down for a meeting, it costs your organization money. Think about a room with 6 or 7 professionals who are making seventy to one hundred thousand dollars per year. The bill for that meeting starts to add up in a hurry. There’s a even a great little meeting calculator that someone can run at your next meeting. Fill in the variables and watch the money fly by as you continue your meeting.
Is a Meeting Really Necessary?
Often times the meeting is the default position and the accepted norm in your organization. Many times decisions can be made with a phone call or an email to save the meeting time. Meetings are usually required for project teams where it’s advantageous to have all the team members and issues in the same place at the same time. Management meetings such as your weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with employees should also never be skipped. Client interactions are also best handled in a meeting format.
Think of Alternatives
If you must meet, does the meeting have to happen face-to-face? Virtual meetings can provide all the benefits of an in-person meeting but without the time and/or expense of meeting in a conference room. Skype and GoToMeeting are probably the most recognized of the providers in this space, but new providers like Zoom allow for free video meetings for up to 40 minutes and you can have the meeting on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.
Are there other things you could be doing at the same time you are making decisions or solving problems? Last week in our TED Talks Thursday segment, there was a great video about walking meetings. Taking a walk with your colleagues allows you to get some much needed exercise at the same time you are discussing a topic or two.
Make Them Productive
If you must meet, make sure you are making the best use of your time. If you are a meeting organizer, don’t even consider holding a meeting if you haven’t prepared an agenda in advance and communicated with people what to expect and how long they will be there. If you are a meeting attendee, consider skipping any meeting where the agenda is not provided beforehand. Finally, if you are in a position of power in your organization, give some thought to making the use of an agenda and other productivity tools mandatory if meetings are held. If you are not sure where to begin, download our free meeting essentials template. It includes an agenda template and a great tool for keeping track of assignments that come from the meeting.
Give some of these suggestions a try. We think you can improve the effectiveness of your next meeting. Or non-meeting!