Avoid Meetings At Any Cost, Or At Least Get Most Of It
Meetings are the biggest waste of time. Lowest ROI ever. Here is what is needed to set and run the meeting:
- Waste time trying to find available time slot suitable for every attendee.
- Waste time coordinating the room.
- Waste time traveling to the meeting place.
- Waste time for unnecessary small talk at the beginning of the meeting.
- Waste time during the meeting to get back on track only because somebody decided to raise another unplanned topic.
- Waste time arguing who’s to summarize the meeting.
- Wasting time after the meeting to clarifying the summary.
- Wasting time traveling back from the meeting.
Is not it a pure waste of time?
But there are a cases when meetings are unavoidable. This is what I do to make most of it:
- Try to avoid it at any cost and suggest alternative communication channels. I always prefer using email. Phone calls yet another evil.
- Start meeting exactly at the time it was scheduled. Do not wait for those who are late. Those who come on time do not have to suffer.
- Make sure I know exactly who attends the meeting. Helps avoid attending meetings that have no impact.
- Define clear agenda beforehand and distribute to the attendees. Helps preparing better for the meeting. Meeting becomes more focused thus productive. "This is what we are going to discuss".
- Set clear goals/outcomes for the meeting. Helps stay on track and reduces noises. "This is what we need to get out of the meeting".
- Summarize action items during the meeting. Saves time for summaries afterwards. Helps avoiding roundtrips for refining the summary.
- Make sure action items identify clear outcome, responsible person, due date/time. Helps avoiding misunderstandings. "Persona A does B due to date C".
- As the meeting ends – read aloud the summary, and after everyone agrees just send it out.
- Finish the meeting exactly by the meeting’s scheduled end time. It should carry out the message "I appreciate my own and the attendees time".