The three words that strike fear in the hearts of even the most stalwart agents…
“Can we meet?”
In the 1960s executives spent an average of 10 hours per week in meetings; today this has increased to 23 hours per week (Scott, 2007). Unfortunately, many of these meetings do nothing to increase the productivity of the employees or the organization. This is a waste of time and money! For example, if an employee is making $20.00 per hour, and they are in 23 hours of meetings in a week, the organization paid $460.00 for the employee to (generally speaking) sit! If you’d like to check out how much meeting time is costing you, check out: Free Meeting Calculator.
Stop the Meeting Madness!
The first tip I have for saving time on meetings is…get ready…it’s a doozy…
Just Say NO!
Now, I realize some meetings are mandatory, and some may well indeed be productive and important. By all means go to those meetings! I’m referring to all the others! Before attending (or holding) a meeting ask:
- Why am I holding this meeting? If you don’t know the objective, proceed no further.
- Why am I going to participate?
What do I want to achieve?
- What do I want to achieve afterwards?
Answering these questions will give you comfort in deciding whether to attend (or hold) a meeting or to spend your time elsewhere.
Prepare in Advance!
As a meeting attendee (or host) do your part in making sure the meetings you do attend are productive. Remember to:
- Send out agendas/memos beforehand. And not just an hour beforehand. Days beforehand. Help your attendees have time to think in advance about how they will contribute to the meeting.
- Bring solutions not problems. “Oh no, not another vent session!”
- On the agenda include time limits for all discussion topics. For example: “Introductions: 2 minutes.”
- Put a strict time limit on any discussion items. After 30 minutes participation and attention drops dramatically.
- Schedule routine meetings for a Friday afternoon. No one wants to stay late!
- Ask yourself- is this something that can be shared through an email instead of a meeting?
Don’t Be THAT Person!
You know who they are (and if you don’t, it might be you). It’s like they save every word they would have otherwise expended during the week for this meeting. If something can be said in four words, they use fourteen. They speak every time there is something to speak about, whether they are moving the discussion forward or not.
DON’T BE THAT PERSON!
Not sure when to speak up? Check out the following infographic:
Meetings don’t have to be misery! Remembering these tips can help you cut down on the useless time you expend on meetings, and also help you to host more effective meetings for your clients and colleagues!
See you back here next week as we discuss everyone’s favorite time waster- PROCRASTINATION!