We’ve all (at one time or another) been in a meeting that could have easily been avoided with an email, and we’ve likely all had that one meeting-happy boss who calls meeting after meeting with no specified agenda. Unfortunately, I sometimes put myself in that category. I feel like this meeting culture is growing more and more, and I often see it at companies of all ages and sizes —no matter what the industry.  

In fact, most team members report attending an average of 62 meetings per month, and executives spend anywhere from 40-50% of their working hours attending meetings. Of those meetings, it is reported that 33.91% of all meetings are seen as a waste of valuable time. What’s even more crazy, it is estimated that $37 billion dollars a year are wasted in the U.S. on meetings.

How can we stop the meeting madness and move to a culture where meetings actually mean something —where they get shit done?  

#1. Give Team Members the Information They Need

At Onyx, we recently implemented a one-login system that allows team members to see all the information they need in real-time. Not only will this positively impacted efficiency, it’s given team members access to information that was formerly disseminated via meetings.

We can do more (and faster) without having to wait for a set meeting time to gather information and then roll into action.

#2. Huddle Up

In his 2002 book called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (a must-read), Verne Harnish encourages companies to embrace micro-meetings or “huddles.” He says these short daily meetings —often just 10 or 15 minutes each— keep team members focused on strategic goals, ensure timely answers to pressing questions, and enforce accountability. Inc. reports that companies from Capital One to the Ritz Carlton practice these rapidfire huddles.

This type of meeting structure is also great for small companies or startups that are trying to build a culture of teamwork and collaboration —especially if you include everyone from frontline staff to management. In this often unconnected world, it gives your team a sense of purpose and connection. We all innately want to have true connections in everything we do, and technology has hijacked that a bit. All the greatest ideas I have been involved in have come from collaborating with team members and friends.  

#3. Let Technology Work for the Team

There are so many great technologies that can help us streamline our day —including making unnecessary meetings a thing of the past. Project management platforms like Asana and Basecamp are great examples. And, if a meeting is a must, there’s also technologies that can make getting together simpler. From Google Hangouts to services like Uber Conference (need to dial into a meeting while stuck in commuter traffic?), let technology work for your team. But, never forget that creating amazing relationships (however you do it) is what will make you the most successful in anything you do! 

Putting in in Perspective

I have been working hard at starting to eliminate time-waste meetings by finding a happy balance between the right technology and quick, purposeful huddles. I truly believe this is how we will create companies of the future —those that put a focus on team members and their needs without sacrificing the goals and strategic direction of the company.

 What is the meeting culture like at your company? And, how are you battling (if at all) unnecessary meetings? I’d love to hear how you’re doing it.