Has anyone else been over-thinking meetings lately? I’m personally more drained by the end of the day because of Zoom meetings than I ever was stacked full of in-person meetings. It’s been at the forefront of my mind since COVID — on how we can bring meetings to a much more efficient place, but now also adding in the ability to feel like you’re connected with your team. (Where’s the small talk?) With the professional sphere separated and teams operating remotely, it seems like everyone’s schedules are filled with team meetings.
So what’s behind the stigma against meetings? Why do team members hate this part of the business model? This characteristic response to meetings begs the question of if meetings are even necessary anymore? Now that we’re not together — they’re more necessary than ever — because the magic of collaboration (that spurred ideas and thoughts) are going to have to take place in a different way.
That’s a quick summary of my thought process as I’ve been reflecting on the meeting dilemma. What I really want to know is how we can make the essential meetings better. I’ve been brainstorming on how to improve meeting quality - whether it’s online, in person, and even on the phone. Here’s what I came up with:
Don’t Drag Things Along
Maybe meetings wouldn't be so bad if they weren’t so long. It may not be the idea of coming together and discussing business that discourages the team. It may actually be the idea of sitting in one place for an hour or more stuck on a one-track mode of thinking.
If meetings are dragging on, make the effort to cut them down. It’s not impossible when you analyze that the majority of a meeting is usually spent wasting time. Starting late, getting organized, and going on tangents are all examples of not valuing the time of your team members.
When you announce the meeting, make sure to include the end time as well as the start time - and stick to it.
Streamline the Process with Tech
Tech always saves the day. Remote workers can greatly benefit from working with a great organization platform and scheduling software that saves time and keeps communication strong.
Community platforms like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello are digital project managers that can cover a lot of the back-and-forth that would otherwise take up space during meetings, helping save time for discussing vital orders of business.
Another tech-tip to consider is enhancing your tech provider. There are big differences in terms of meeting size, quality, function, and toolkits. Do your homework on e-conference software to ensure that your team is working with its best match.
Who’s Running the Show?
A meeting can only be as good as the one in charge. If you want to improve your meeting quality, start by analyzing the meeting coordinator. Having a well-trained, respectful, timely, and eloquent meeting leader will ensure that time’s not getting wasted, everyone’s paying attention, and things are running smoothly. A little effort here goes a long way.
A good meeting doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to improve the meeting’s quality, productivity, and efficiency.
What do you think about all of this? Any tips on how to put a new spin on the traditional meeting set up? I’d love to hear your ideas as I strive to come up with the perfect recipe for a productive, enjoyable, and painless team meeting.