Do We Need a Meeting for This? How to Avoid Unnecessary Meetings

Between water cooler discussions and impromptu, mandatory meetings, it's easy to lose the entire work day. Here's how to avoid those time-sinking meetings.

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When was the last time an internal meeting you attended was a really great one? The kind where, after everyone had signed on via your meeting scheduler software for small business you all showed up, shared important ideas and information and left the room feeling inspired and energized?

Can't remember the last time a meeting was like that? That is not surprising. The chances are all you really remember are the terrible meetings you've attended recently. The ones you really did not need to be at. The one scheduled late in the afternoon where most of the participants had already mentally checked out of the office. Or that one colleague just kept going on and on, but never really saying anything of value.

Some meetings are important and productive. Often however they are little more than a pointless waste of everyone's time. A well-worded email or a group chat would have sufficed instead. So, how do you decide which meetings to add to your meeting scheduler software for small business for people to sign up for, and which to leave off? Look through our checklist, and then ask yourself, do you really need that meeting?

Is There a Worthwhile Agenda? 

Before you start sending emails and requests asking your colleagues to drop everything they're doing for an hour (or more) out of their busy day ensure that you really do need to call a meeting at all. Do you have a clear agenda of things to raise or discuss?

If not, take some time to determine what you expect to achieve with your meeting and create a formal agenda of points to address. Then, you can share it with your colleagues when they sign up for the meeting allowing them to arrive more prepared, and decreasing the chances that people will sabotage the meeting by veering off topic.

Is This the Most Important Use of Everyone's Time Right Now? 

Meetings always come at the cost of productivity, as in the time spent in them is taking away from other tasks. And sometimes, that's just the way it has to be. However, before you start blocking meeting time in your meeting scheduling software for small business make sure your meeting has a strategic value to your company.

Ask yourself if this is the most important thing that people need to be doing right now. Are there big deadlines to meet right now or is there a rush on? Would it be better to wait awhile so that people can get that more important work done first? Ask yourself what would happen if you did delay the meeting. And if the answer is nothing really then you can almost certainly afford to delay it for another day.

Am I Prepared? 

You have an idea. You think you need to call a meeting to discuss it. But do you know what you want to say? Do you have all the information you need to get your points across? There are few things worse than herding everyone into a conference room only to realize that you don’t have enough information to make your idea clear to everyone or to make a decision about a pressing issue.

To avoid this kind of rather pointless - and frustrating - meeting ensure that you have everything you need and are properly prepared before you even think about asking for your team's time.

Could This Be Done Another Way? 

In the 21st century we have more communication tools than ever before. And used the right way they can be extremely efficient ways to keep people in the loop, to brainstorm ideas and to reach an agreement on an idea. So do you really need to call a formal meeting at all? And will you possibly be stifling ideas if you do?

For example, if you are calling a meeting to ask for ideas and input on a certain topic you should realize that not everyone will be comfortable standing up in front of everyone to share theirs. 

If you send out an email requesting the information instead however people will be able to give the matter serious thought and respond in a considered manner, privately. You will avoid the sometimes crippling groupthink a formal meeting can result in and allow team members to voice opinions discreetly.

Do you want to call a meeting so that a decision can be made on an issue? Use a tool like Slack instead, to start a discussion thread or ask people to vote on options. There's an added bonus here too, as you won't need to take minutes to keep track of what was said, it will all be there in writing, neatly stored in the thread. Do you need updates? Use project management boards like Trello, where people can add regular updates on projects for the whole team to see.

When You Need a Meeting 

All of this having been said, sometimes a formal meeting is unavoidable. If that is the case then you want things to run as efficiently as possible and that no-one's time is wasted.

It's obviously a must that everyone who needs to attend the meeting you are calling is aware of that fact. This is where your meeting scheduling software for small business can be very helpful.

After you have created the event in the software, send out emails requesting that people actually sign up. That way you can be sure that everyone saw the meeting request without having to send tons of individual messages and you'll have a list of those attending to hand before everything gets started.

Finally, if you want your meeting to be productive, make it a little more engaging. Set a time limit, so that people know that they will not be trapped in the conference room for hours. Offer refreshments (healthy ones) so that attendees are not too distracted by the fact that lunch isn't too far away to listen and participate.


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