Do you ever feel like you just can’t take one more meeting? People are becoming increasingly numb to them, especially those who are working remotely. The remote workplace has spawned more meetings, many of which are valuable check-ins for teams, while others are unnecessary wastes.
A lot of meetings were created in the early days of the pandemic for specific reasons tied to connecting with co-workers. Thoughtfully consider the relevance of these gatherings. The original purpose may have run its course and it’s time to “retire” it. Or, it may be time to repurpose, shorten, or reduce the frequency.
After you’ve culled the unnecessary meetings, think about how you can make the surviving meetings more productive.
Do you use an agenda? Although some meetings are more freeform and agendas aren’t as necessary, many meetings can benefit from an agenda. If you use the same agenda every time, there is a danger of the meeting going stale, so pay attention to the level and quality of participation.
Do you stay on time? One of the cardinal rules of meeting management is not only to begin on time, but to end on time. When you go past the end time, the meeting has likely gone in a different direction and it may be more appropriate to allocate a special time to cover that content.
In addition, ending on time shows respect for your coworkers. If you keep droning on, you are communicating that your personal agenda is more important than whatever else they may have scheduled.
One exception to ending at a specific end time is when you have covered the meeting agenda in less than the scheduled time. In this case, don’t continue the meeting until the scheduled end time just so you end on time. Gift the remaining 10, 15, 20 minutes to the participants. They will gladly welcome those few minutes!
Finally, avoid meetings that chronically turn into bitch sessions. Almost always, these don’t benefit anyone (including the chronic complainer), so steer clear of these.
Be scrutinizing about your meetings. Make sure their purpose is clear and that recurring meetings stay relevant. Your colleagues will appreciate any efforts you many to manage the process more proactively.