Tuesday Dispatch: #116 - On Meetings
Meetings are the most expensive activity you can have. Can we increase their ROI?
Meetings are super expensive. You lock people synchronously for hours, beating the living soul out of them and expecting something valuable in return. Good luck with that.
No wonder people hate attending meetings unless they are the ones calling for them.
One thing is clear: we need better meetings, but how do we make better meetings?
Let's start with a few principles, and we work our way up from there:
Every institution has its own rituals. Some of them are meetings. 🙅You can't change that.
Every culture has its own social rules around meetings. 🙅 You can't change that.
Every person has their own taste about which meetings they like and which they don't like. 🙅You can’t change that.
Most of the meetings we attend are a waste of time. 🤷You might be able to change that.
Most of the whining around useless meetings is actually about some of the rituals within those meetings. 🤷You might be able to change that.
People are always multitasking during meetings. 🤷You can't change that, but you can mitigate the effects.
People don't want to change how they organize meetings because they have never experienced a better way. 🙌You can change that.
Most of our meetings can be easily replaced by other forms of documentation, collaboration, and communication. 🙌 You can totally change that.
Now, let's get to it.
Here are a few fantastic resources to dramatically impact your meetings.
Let's get going!
When Meetings Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Hold Meetings
The decision by Shopify to forgo meetings across their organization raises questions about the efficacy of such a policy. It is an issue worth considering. Read more here.
How to Make Meetings Shorter
As the meeting scheduler, it is recommended to avoid scheduling one-hour or 45-minute meetings unless they are essential or involve multiple teams providing updates. Consider whether the objectives can be achieved in 30 or even 15 minutes. It is important to be mindful of the time allocated in the calendar.
You can become an office hero by assisting your colleagues in reclaiming their time. Be mindful and ensure that lengthy, inefficient meetings do not become the standard.
Check out this article on holding shorter meetings.
On Holding Too Many Meetings
Meetings serve different purposes, ranging from informal social gatherings to formal brainstorming sessions. They often appear on our calendars as recurring events (with no end date in sight!).
New research shows that about 70% of all meetings keep employees from working and completing all their tasks. While there was a 20% decrease in the average length of meetings during the pandemic, the number of meetings attended by a worker on average rose by 13.5%.
Ineffective meetings that waste our time can negatively impact our psychological, physical, and mental well-being.
Great article on meetings; don't miss it!
Biggest Productivity Killers in the Engineering Industry
The context switch is probably the biggest productivity killer for knowledge workers, and meetings are a part of the problem.
Remember that meetings are a professional ritual and play a crucial societal role. For this reason, you can’t change how meetings exist in your institution if you don't dig down into the cultural components that keep them in place.
Like every cultural shift, it will take time and effort to happen, but I hope that the resources I shared with you today can help you make your meetings more effective, increasing their ROI for you, your team, and your company.
If you have experience with effective meetings and you are willing to share with me, hit reply or drop a comment! I will very much appreciate it!