Meetings are important. There’s something about face-to-face communications that you just can’t get over the phone, Skype, email, text, or other written forms of communication. But too many companies are guilty of an excessive number of meetings. Pointless meetings that fill calendars and waste time. So how do you know which meetings are essential and which are wastes of time? Here are three rules you can use to avoid scheduling too many pointless meetings.
Have a catch-all meeting
Instead of scheduling separate meetings for each topic or issue, have one regular meeting that streamlines all essential communications into one time and space. Minimize the small talk and take attendance mandatory. That way, you don’t have to reschedule because certain essential personnel aren’t there. There’s no set agenda, just things that come up that need to be addressed without setting separate meetings.
Set an expiration date
Let’s say you have a weekly team meeting each Monday morning. Is it necessary each week? Evaluate each week whether you really need to have it and cancel it if you don’t. Plan for those regular meetings to expire after 90 days. At that point, reassess whether they’re still necessary. You might find that they are and let them continue for another 90 days, or you might find that your team is so cohesive and tight, they can handle most of that communication via email or in smaller side conversations. Either way, you’ll stay disciplined in weeding out non-essential meetings every 90 days.
Schedule meeting-free zones
People need time to get their work done, so designate somewhere in the range of 4 hours to 2 full work days each week when meetings can’t be held. That way, people have adequate time to do their work, and because meeting time will then be precious and finite, you’ll need to run your meetings that much more efficiently. Those urgent, unforeseen problems and obstacles that pop up can be addressed during that meeting-free time without having to work around meetings. And any collaborative work that needs to be done between two or more employees can be completed then. Otherwise, trying to coordinate several people’s schedules that are loaded with meetings can be a nearly impossible task. Guaranteed meeting-free time allows your employees some peace of mind and a little more control over their workweek.
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