No matter what framework/way of working/methodology you use, one thing is for sure, meetings are a part of life and we have to deal with the team. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are they impacting our productivity?
The main way meetings impact our productivity is by creating context switching, we’ve talked about this before in the post “AN INEXPENSIVE WAY TO GAIN MORE TIME“.
My 5 rules to reduce the impact on your productivity are:
#1 Send clear goals and meeting agenda in advance.
This will help everyone that is not truly needed for the meeting to understand what is going to be discussed, and decide, should I go or not. Nothing is more frustrating than spending 1 hour in a meeting you don’t need to be.
#2 Keep meetings time-boxed
Timeboxing a meeting keeps the focus on the subject at hand. Not only that, it ensures that it will not go on forever. Now the most important part, just because it is time-boxed doesn’t mean that we cannot follow up on it after. If another follow-up meeting is required, book it.
#3 Keep meetings short
We all have seen full day or half a day meetings. In my personal opinion, if you cannot discuss it in 1 hour, you are doing it wrong. Why? Will everyone in the meeting get value during that full day all the time? If the answer is no, then do small meetings with a proper audience. Which leaves me to rule number 4
#4 Invite the right audience
How many times have you been in a meeting you didn’t need to be in? For me, it has happened more times than I can count. It is a very common problem when rule #1 is not taken into account.
Make sure the right people are involved so that the information is flowing. Anyone that doesn’t need to be there should not be there. It doesn’t mean you should not make your meetings transparent to the whole organization, that is fine if the subjects are not confidential. Record it. Do meeting notes. However, if you want to share the information, go for it. But if you invite the wrong people, that don’t have a proper understanding of the subject at hand, you will spend a lot of your time explaining what is going on.
#5 Have a facilitator and a note taker
Meetings without a facilitator fall into chaos. There should be someone that guides the conversation and makes sure we are not falling off-topic. And yes, that happens more than we like to admit.
Having a note taker is very important for transparency. We want to record both the result and the discussions we had during the meeting. This will help with another of the lean wastes – Relearning. We already spend X amount of hours in the meeting, we don’t want to have to go and learn that information again. You can read more about relearning in this post “RELEARNING MIGHT LOOK LIKE A GOOD THING, BUT IT’S NOT“.
What are the rules you use to get more effective meetings?