Sometimes, a project or even a single decision requires the input and approval of a number of employees. Trying to manage that process through e-mail can take a long time and isn’t always the best format for discussion and collaboration.
Getting everyone together in one room can be a great way to facilitate the quick resolution of an issue. But in many organizations, the majority of the day can be taken up by meetings, leaving little time for actual work.
In an article for The Muse, Alyse Kalish interviewed four business leaders to learn how they helped cut back on “meeting overload” in their organizations and for themselves personally. Here are some of their tips.
Creating ‘No Meeting’ Time Slots
When setting up a meeting, it’s often a process of seeking out that elusive open time slot on a colleague’s calendar and scheduling time. Many employees, and especially managers, use the strategy of blocking off specific periods of time when they will not hold any meetings unless it’s for something absolutely critical.
Having Meetings Only One Day a Week
L&D pros can play a role in helping their organizations be more efficient—and providing more desk time for staff—by recommending that meetings take place on only one day a week (or, based on the company situations, perhaps having one “meeting free” day).
One of the leaders interviewed by Kalish—Mattan Griffel, Cofounder and CEO of One Month—takes this idea to an even greater extreme: He blocks off every day but one. In other words, he’ll only attend meetings one day per week.
Revisiting the Calendar Regularly
Particularly with recurring meetings, your calendar can become overloaded with relatively useless meetings. They may have had a purpose at one point, but maybe the initial issue has settled down or been resolved—or maybe the meeting simply isn’t that useful. It’s helpful to revisit your calendar from time to time to clean up the unnecessarily blocked time slots for more productive activity.
Holding a Meeting Purge
Another leader interviewed by Kalish—Alex Villa, Chief Operating Officer at Healthify—implements what he calls a “meeting purge”:
“This is a specific point in time every six to nine months where we delete 100% of recurring meetings and institute rules by which they can be added back.”
Meetings certainly have their place in any organization; however, it’s easy to rely too much on them and hold meetings that aren’t as valuable as the collective time of the participants involved. The tips above may help cut back on the number of meetings your company holds and help individual employees better manage their time.