Ugh, everybody hates meetings. They can be a real waste of time if you don’t manage them right. And if your company routinely schedules inefficient meetings, then team members will start to skip them. But important meetings can be really useful and really productive if they’re planned and run the right way. Most meetings are disruptive, unnecessary rituals that hurt your company’s bottom line.
Here are five reasons to get rid of most of your meetings.
1) Meetings are distractions
People are often stopping their flow, right in the middle of a complex problem and instead of keeping that train of thought and powering through, they have to stop what they’re doing and get to this inconsequential meeting. Some employees, dreading the interruption don’t even get started to begin with and then, there’s often no follow-up and so the same meetings are called again and again until people get bored and start skipping them.
2) Meetings wander off topic
Many meetings have no purpose or structure to begin with. Even when there’s an agenda, the moderator is stretched too thin, trying to do too many things at once. Since there are no ground rules for conduct, people are often speaking out of turn or too long while others are silent and polite, not wanting to interrupt. If your company insists on meetings, then all moderators should assign an assistant—someone in charge of prepping the room, providing refreshments and snacks, and making sure the team sticks to the agenda.
3) Meetings have unnecessary people
If you catch people scrolling mindlessly through their phones, chances are the meeting is irrelevant to them. We’ve all sat in meetings where two or three people are having their own meeting while everyone else checks out. Why waste the time then? Instead, those people would have been better off continuing their work instead of dragging themselves to the meeting.
4) Meetings multiply time spent
And speaking of time, if your company wastes dozens of hours in meetings each week, multiplied by all of those employees assembled around the table, think of all that accumulated time that could have been spent more productively. If you math it out, the loss in productivity is estimated to be nearly $37 billion every year in the U.S. alone.
5) More efficient alternatives
There are more efficient tools than meetings that facilitate collaboration. Email, phone, or in-person conversations are often just as effective, more streamlined, and more convenient. Re-think how you receive input from stakeholders. Often big personalities dominate meetings, even if their opinions aren’t the most useful. Consider using a survey tool instead. Keep it short and relevant. Or consider one-on-one conversations to get a feel for how things are going. More time-consuming, yes, but it’s more accurate, gives everyone has a chance to share, instead of the two or three loudest voices
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