"Here's a simple, research-based fact - If people find your meetings useful, they probably like their jobs too; but if your meetings are a waste of time, they're probably not happy in their jobs. Here's a news flash for you. Most people don't like meetings. They're too many, they last too long, and they waste too much time.
When it comes to meetings, less is more.
- Less meetings,
- Less people attending, and
- Less time in the meeting.
You want to call fewer meetings, and you can start by cutting your weekly status meetings in half. Do them every other week. Have people post their updates weekly. Then every other week, when people are current on each other's progress, you focus the group on problem-solving, brainstorming, and celebrating the progress that's been reported.
You also need to think twice before calling a meeting. Ask yourself this, 'what necessitates a meeting"? I'm going to propose one good reason. You only meet when people need to interact in real-time. Here are three examples:
- You're making a decision,
- Solving a problem, or
- Making a plan
When companies have too many meetings, it's because their standards for calling meetings are too low. Raise the bar, and you'll have fewer meetings. When you hold meetings to a higher standard, every meeting has an important purpose, so you're not wasting any time. That's fewer meetings, now fewer people. Again, it gets back to the standards, as we've said. Try to limit meetings to seven people.
Now, remember, you only meet when you need people to interact in real-time, and the research shows that social interaction bogs down and dilutes with larger groups.
Make your meeting shorter, too. TED Talks are limited to 18-minutes, and you know why? That's the outer limit of an adult's attention span. Now, I'm not saying meetings should be 18-minutes, but meetings don't need to be an hour, with a clear purpose and limited attendees; meetings can be 15 or 25 minutes. They don't need to be an hour. In fact, hour-long meetings should be the exception.
So rethink your approach to meetings and reset your standards. What warrants a meeting? What justifies someone's attendance? What's your optimum group size? And how long should meetings last? Remember, 'less is more' and productive meetings may keep your employees."
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