Shift Meetings from Malignant to Masterful with this Foolproof Formula
How many meetings do you attend each week and how many are necessary and productive?
In the world of Project Management, communicating status, risks, and next steps is vitally important to the success of the project. However, if project meetings are the only method of communicating, it places your team and your project at risk.
One study found that the average manager spends as much as 23 hours of their week in scheduled meetings. If you multiply the number of hours spent in meetings by the number of people attending, you can see how much time is subtracted from doing the work. if you add impromptu meetings and conversations the totals are even higher.
If too many meetings are preventing you and your team from doing real work, it will negatively impact productivity and morale and that will slow project progress even more. But meetings do not have to suck the life out of you or your job. Meetings that are focused, targeted, and involve only the people that need to be there provide an opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. Well-planned and facilitated meetings can result in collaborative solutions to project problems and create motivation to keep moving forward. Imagine what your workday would be like if meetings were less frequent and more productive.
If you are stuck in malignant meetings that eat up your time, use these strategies and shift your meetings from malignant to masterful.
Make Meetings Less Frequent
- Consult your boss. There are steps you can take on your own to cut down on meetings. However, you’ll probably make more progress if you work as a team. Ask your boss if they’re interested in developing an overall strategy.
- Clear your calendar. Do you attend weekly meetings whose origins are shrouded in mystery? It may be time to start from the ground up. Review each recurring meeting to ensure that it still serves a valid purpose.
- Call first. Make a quick phone call to see if you can resolve the relevant issues before asking your colleagues to attend a meeting. You could also try handling it on your own or asking another employee for assistance.
- Create meeting-free days. Take a day off from the conference room. Some companies have made a commitment to at least one day without meetings each week. This gives employees more time for tasks that benefit from deeper thought and fewer distractions.
- Opt out. If you’re tactful about it, you may be able to turn down meeting invitations without causing any friction. Explain your conflict and propose an alternative like using project management tools or creating internal reference materials. It also helps to have a supportive boss.
Make Meetings More Productive
- Prepare an agenda. Keep your meeting on track by circulating a written agenda. It will provide a sense of direction and help participants to stick to the main subject.
- Limit attendance. Most experts believe that meetings are more effective when they’re limited to about 8 participants. Larger groups often experience more difficulties with communication and decision making.
- Shorten the time frame. Why schedule an hour-long meeting when 45 minutes will suffice? Having less time encourages greater focus and fewer conversations about items unrelated to the agenda.
- Finish early. Give your colleagues an incentive to be concise. Make it a habit to end meetings ahead of time when the work is completed.
- Stand up. Try conducting some of your meetings standing up or walking around. You’ll be less likely to want to linger on a cushioned seat because you’re sleepy. You may also think and speak more clearly when you’re on your feet.
- Ban browsing. Do you want to join the ranks of companies that prohibit phones and other devices from meetings? On the other hand, you may be satisfied with a policy for muting phones and using devices only for tasks relevant to the meeting.
- Upgrade your technology. Then again, some technology may enhance your meetings. Use video conference calls and screen sharing applications to keep things interesting and accomplish more in less time.
- Provide leader training. Talk with your employer about providing training for employees who conduct meetings. It may help you to build morale and achieve your objectives.
Meetings can feel overwhelming or pointless or they can encourage collaboration and strengthen professional relationships. Work with your team and your project sponsors to ensure that your meetings are essential and successful.
Make the Most of Your Meetings
Does your team use meetings to catch up on text and email messages? Do you? If you are stuck leading or attending endless meetings, there is a better way.
Maximize your meeting time by scheduling a Project Breakthrough Session. In this complimentary and confidential session, you will:
- Get crystal clear on how to set meeting outcomes.
- Identify meeting ratholes and learn how to plug them
- Learn how to facilitate the best meetings for your project.
Stop Wasting Time! Schedule a FREE Project Breakthrough Session, today!