How to organize shorter, better meetings

Meetings are an essential part of business life and, whether you find them tiring or energizing, you can agree that most could make better use of your time. The people at the maker of the smart calendar assistant Follow clockwise said the time people spend in meetings has increased by 25% since the pandemic-related shutdowns began, and that trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to make the meetings I hold more effective. For example, I schedule them all by default for 20 minutes instead of the usual 30 because I find the compression schedule forces everyone to get to the point faster and we can always run a bit more if necessary.

However, I didn’t have all the answers, so I searched the community thread for entrepreneurs above Have evaluated to see how they get more miles from meetings. They did not disappoint.

Is the meeting necessary?

The best way to avoid wasting time in meetings is to not hold the meeting in the first place. Financial company Octane Sales manager Maria Aveledo, said, urges managers to ask questions about who actually has to attend, whether a team can send one person instead of three, and whether the meeting can be easily organized. email processing or not, said Maria Aveledo, sales manager.

Madeline Pratt, CEO at creative consulting firm Fearless Foundry, use Loom video sharing platform for quick video creation, and found it to be “a really good way for our team to communicate without having to call.” Another meeting avoidance technology she uses is Slack Huddles to enable fast, intimate virtual chats.

Loom’s CEO, Joe Thomas, pre-delivered a short, pre-recorded video detailing the goals, agenda, and context of the meeting. “Sometimes that video ends up making the meeting unnecessary,” he wrote.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Not having a clear agenda is the fastest way to derail a meeting. In Livestorm, “We recommend appointing a meeting room manager [on a rotating basis] who owns the agenda from A to Z and runs the entire meeting,” wrote CEO Gilles Bertaux. “Go through the agenda and decide if the meeting is absolutely necessary or can be handled simply by email,” he added.

Leadership Coach Bianca Riemer Likes to send agendas a few days before a meeting and prompt participants to prepare questions in advance. “This has helped people speak up about those who tend to stay silent,” she wrote.

Owl Labs CEO Frank Weishaupt also sends out “read-in” materials one to three days in advance, covering what people need to know and ask questions.

Once you have a agenda, stick to it. Annie Pearl, product manager for the maker of scheduling software Calendly, recommends canceling any meeting for which the agenda has not been prepared. If new discussion items pop up after the meeting starts, “put them in the ‘parking lot’ to visit again later” so you can stay on track, she advises.

Take advantage of the time

To video or not to video? While the camera can be intrusive, it also forces us to at least look like we’re paying attention, and that makes meetings go faster, Livestorm’s Bertaux notes. At his company, participants are asked to keep the camera on and mute the device to minimize distraction.

Matt Harney, CTO at Vyond, estimates that reading emails and updating messages in a meeting can reduce people’s productivity by 40%. He said: “Don’t be attractive for letting your attention go astray, don’t do it.

Cloud Computing Expert Susanne Tedrick The consultant runs a technical test of the equipment and software before the meeting begins. That way, attendees don’t have to waste time while you struggle to figure out why your microphone isn’t working.

Start the meeting three minutes after the scheduled start time even if people are still arriving. “This sets the standard for punctuality,” wrote Anna Dearmon Kornick, Clockwise’s community head. It is the responsibility of the meeting owner to view the agenda, time clock and pace, and state the purpose of the meeting and the intended outcome. “This keeps the discussion focused on the meeting objective,” she wrote.

“This might sound counterintuitive, but you can speed up virtual meetings by spending 8% of your time on socializing and having fun,” says Michael Alexis, CEO at event producer. workplace lawsuits arguments. Team building. Icebreakers keep people comfortable with each other, and organizers can make sure things don’t get out of hand by limiting social time to about five minutes per hour.

Fearless Foundry’s Pratt agrees. She starts her meetings every Monday by asking everyone to share a recap of their weekend or a snippet of what’s going on in their lives. “We have a better sense of how people are feeling during the week,” she said. She also likes to end with an unusual question like “What can’t you do with today?” make everyone smile.

Auto-recording is now a standard feature in most video conferencing platforms, and in my experience, they work well for everything but technical terms and proper names. “Critical information can then be shared in a searchable, on-demand video library, which also allows employees to listen to meetings on their timeline and fast-forward to the right sections. best with them,” noted Mike Rich, vice president. strategic alliance in Panopto, whose video sharing platform includes transcription.

Meetings will always be with us, but they should not monopolize our time. With tips like these, they don’t have to.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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