At most companies, colleagues share their calendars with each other for transparency and visibility, and to let everyone know when they’re available. From the CEO to the lowliest summer intern, most of these calendars have one thing in common: they’re jam-packed with meetings. Of course, not every meeting is a good one. Here’s how to improve yours.
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Step 1: Cancel the Meeting Altogether
In a recent article in Mashable, Dorie Clark, a marketing strategy consultant and an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, says, “our growing aversion to meetings stems from the fact that they often have no justification for existing and usually can be replaced by a summary email.”
“Meetings that happen on an ongoing basis often get ‘flabby,’ with poorly defined agendas and a lot of peacocking about how hard you’ve been working,” she says. “Meetings should be about decisions, not generic ‘here’s what I did last week’ blathering.”
Instead of having that so-called “weekly meeting,” you may be able to cancel it altogether and send out that summary email. Or, if you must, cut that weekly meeting down from an hour to 15 minutes maximum.
Step 2: Calculate the Cost of the Meeting
Meetings take up precious time — time that could be used completing projects or sealing deals. If you have a hunch that your meetings are a waste of your time, it might be worth calculating the cost of every meeting you attend. Luckily, you don’t need your company’s P&L statement to do this; instead, use this handy calculator to do the math for you. You’ll need to know everyone’s salary, but by using this tool you can learn the price of the meeting and discover the weekly, monthly and yearly cost of company sit-downs.
Step 3: Use Project Management Tools
One of the biggest struggles of teams who work both on-site and remotely is maintaining transparency and keeping everyone on the same page. When there is a lack of visibility into what everyone is doing (and accomplishing), meetings can drag on for hours as everyone (not just managers) have to catch up on that status of every task in every project.
A good project management system can make meetings much more efficient. Asana is one of my personal favorites, allowing employees to set up projects and workspaces that can be accessed either by the entire company, just your department, or even just themselves to keep as a personal to-do list. Other popular favorites are Flow, Wrike, Trello, and Basecamp. Once you establish more transparency throughout your team — and your company — your meetings will not only become more useful, but perhaps they may even disappear altogether.
Tell Us What You Think
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