WARNING! Routine meetings occur more often than they should, take longer than they should and include more people than they should.
- Meetings are a HUGE time suck, but...
- ...meetings are a common mgmt. reflex
- Managers over value and over rely on meetings (especially routine/recurring meetings)
- Meetings expand to fill the time available for its completion (see "Parkinson's Law")
THE RESEARCH SAYS...
- On average, one person usually leaves the meeting happy...the leader (Rogelberg, 2011)
- In the U. S. alone, 700 million hours annually are lost to wasteful, unproductive meetings (Doodle Research 2019)
- The human brain is wired to pay attention and absorb information for 10 to 18 minutes before it begins to tune out (Medina, 2018)
- Bigger meetings aren't better! The more people involved, the more they feel compelled to go along with the group, even if the group is wrong (Asch, 1956)
HOW TO SHORTEN MEETINGS
- Clarify the purpose - explain the desired outcome in 5-words or less
- Invite fewer people - only people with active roles in the meeting
- Specify who's optional - give people an out
- Schedule later in day - people won't be distracted by "to-do's"
- Schedule less time - try 15 & 30 minute time blocks
- Start on time - many meetings start late and begin w/small talk
- Set a timer - helps people stay focused
COACHING POINT- explain up front your intent to shorten meetings. Give people the context behind your new expectations and practices.
SHORTER ZOOM MEETINGS
- Start early - open the meeting room 5-minutes early
- Cameras on - eliminates the multi-tasking and promotes focus
- Opt out provision - tell people it's okay to log off if they have more pressing issues
HOW TO HAVE FEWER MEETINGS
- Meeting free day - Facebook has implemented a "No-meeting Wednesday" policy (other, like Asana have too!)
- Meeting free week - Google uses "no meeting weeks" to avoid burnout
- Replace status meetings - use email or internal messaging apps to circulate updates
COACHING POINT - meeting agendas are often part of the problem. Many agendas - especially for routine meetings - are pro-forma, recycled, boiler plate, checklists of time wasters.