Sometimes you come out of a meeting with tons of energy. These are the meetings where you are engaged, you actively contribute to the outcome – you really manage to get things done! But often you come out of a meeting feeling drained and you tell yourself: this was a complete waste of my time!
Here’s an experiment, give it a shot. Record a meeting, or download the transcript. And calculate how much of what has been said during the meeting is actually relevant to you. Those things you couldn’t have learned otherwise. The things you really need in order to do your job well. I’m very curious to hear your number. If you’re in the low double digits, this needs fixing!
Everybody knows it, but it seems to be a tough habit to adopt: just make sure there is a meeting agenda. Define a desired outcome. And most of all: be very deliberate about who you invite to join.
Maybe you’re scared to speak up, to deal with the uncomfortable reply to your message that ‘this meeting does not provide the best value for my time’.
Presenteism. Yes, being visible matters. But what matters much more is that you create value. You just being there is not the same as you being valuable.
FOMO. If you frequently skip a meeting, you’ll have to deal with some FOMO too. All your team mates are in there, you’re missing out. What will they think? Well, stop caring, just Make It Count. Show what you’ve accomplished in the time you did not spend sitting in meetings. And have them follow your lead.
You have to actively shield yourself from being consumed by the almighty meeting machine. And this will require some dialogue with your co-workers. But this is an opportunity too, one where you set an example. Your questions help others get more specific, you may even be well on your way to improving your team culture.Use a meeting checklist
To check if it should actually be a meeting. Does this need synchronous face to face communication or can we do it async? Yes, often just a Slack message will do.Use very small time slots
Honestly, it’s better to run out of time and schedule a follow up than to have someone ‘fill up’ the scheduled time slot. You’d be amazed at what you can get done in 15 mins.
If you consider time your most precious commodity, have the meeting organiser argue why you should spend yours on it.Micro evaluations
Have everyone (anonymously) rate the value of the meeting right after it is done. Was it worth their time? Was the desired outcome there? If not, adjust!Make recurring meetings optional
The kryptonite of productivity. As these meeting will be there regardless of anyone making an effort to make it a good meeting, chances are no one will come prepared. Always discuss if these meeting should really take place.
You’re up! Try some (or all!) of these techniques and let me know if they’ve worked out for you too.