Let’s Talk About It – Meeting Just To Meet

“Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure.” – Og Mandino

Meetings are some of the most inefficient use of a business’s time. Period. Yes, they can be productive.

Yes, they can be beneficial.

But oftentimes, meetings happen for the sake of meeting. They happen to help us feel that we’re on top of everything or to stroke an ego.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some simple things to follow to ensure your meetings are beneficial.

The absolute must-haves for your meetings: 

   1. Agenda

Without an agenda, the meeting is not well thought out or organized. Without an agenda, no one in the meeting has a chance to prepare for the topics to be discussed or consolidate their thoughts. Lack of an agenda does not allow for pieces of the meeting to be answered ahead of time to shorten or even eliminate the meeting.

An agenda for a meeting is an absolute must and is non-negotiable.

   2. Post-meeting plan of action

Without key takeaways or action items for the meeting, it is really tough to call it one in the first place. Proper terminology would be a social gathering.

Key takeaways and action items are a great way to end a meeting so everyone is aligned on what was discussed in the meeting and can be held accountable afterwards.

Just to hammer this point home a bit more, if you don’t document it, it didn’t happen.

Now that we’ve identified the musts for the meeting, here are a couple pieces to best understand if it should be an email or if the meeting needs to happen.

How to quantify the cost of the meeting to the business:  

If a person makes $100,000 a year with a 40 hour work week they’re making just under $50 an hour. That means that if 10 people at this salary attend the hour-long meeting, it costs the business $500 to hold the meeting.

An alternative way of thinking about the meeting is handing each person who attends $50 when exiting the meeting for their hard work during it.

If the meeting is not worth the $500 to hold, then it probably could be an email.

Short and sweet: 

Every meeting you’re running should be concise. We as human beings are not meant to sit in a room (virtual meetings still count) and listen to someone talk for hours on end while trying to absorb information. Of course there are exceptions when marathon meetings are needed but that should be just it – an exception.

We’re wired to remember the first and last thing during a meeting. Condense the pieces of the meeting that can be condensed into an email. Ask for questions at the beginning of the meeting regarding the email. If no one asks any questions, you just saved a significant amount of time.

Participants will remember a lot more of a 15-minute meeting rather than one that lasts an hour.

Get rid of recurring meetings: 

If there is a need to meet, it should be of high enough prioritization and importance to provide an agenda, send out a calendar invite and produce follow up or action items on the back end. When a meeting is recurring, we have a tendency to fall out of habit with these tasks.

If you have a strong feeling for the need to keep a meeting placeholder in, completely understandable with one stipulation: if the agenda isn’t sent out the night before, the meeting gets canceled.

Having these criteria for your meetings in place will provide for more productive time together and more time to do the work that needs to be done.

Don’t just take our word for it. If you do this, you’ll be following in the footsteps of Shopify and Wayfair. Inspect what you expect from the amount of time that your company is meeting for and make the necessary changes, even if that means deleting 12,000 hours of recurring meetings from employees’ calendars.

Let’s get to work.

Prescriptive Profits #29