Have you ever figured out how much time you spend in your meetings and conference calls each day? Throughout my corporate experience I have realized that our employees spend at least 30 to 50% of their time each day in meetings. For managers and Senior managers its at least 70 to 80% of their time. I personally have faced situations where you would have 12 to 15 meetings per day, may it be face to face or conference calls. Some of them off course are only listening calls, Some I just have to introduce myself and off course there are 50% to 60% of those meetings where I have to actively participate or lead the meetings.
However, there seems to be no way we can cut down on meetings. Some times during your end of day you just realize that you have not done any work other than meetings. No wonder why lots of work gets piled up and people end of wither working long hours or work during the weekends.I have also seen most of these meetings are either agenda less or without any structure or any prior preparation from the facilitator or the participants and few of them just goes way beyond the scheduled time. On top of it we also have our monthly or quarterly all hands and coffee talks which are at least scheduled for 2 to 3 hours with all employees.
So I guess its time we go back to basics to at least pull out some time for you and your teams to do what you have been tracking in terms of actions in your minutes :-)
See if this helps :
- Think before you include people in your meeting request. Find out If they will be contributing to the discussion or the topic If not kindly exlude them.
- Always make sure the purpose and agenda of the meeting is well articulated before the meeting kicks off.
- Make sure you talk to the point and not just talk endlessly without letting others speak.
- If possible you can fix short meetings for even 15 mins or just 30 mins based on the nature of the topic. There is no rule that every meeting or a conference call should be at least for one hour.
- For people who do Coffee talks or All hands meet cut it down to one hour if possible.Remember If you can’t convey your message in an hour you can't do it even if you have more time.
- And off course the golden rule is start on time and end on time. If possible probably end the meeting just 5 minutes before time so that people get some time to switch to their next meeting. At least end it on time so that the participants do not miss the initial part of their next meeting.
- Make sure minutes of meetings are short and to the point and not just essays. I have seen people taking 2-3 hours just to pen down and structure the minutes (for both Client meetings and internal meetings).
- Declining meeting request somehow is still considered as a disrespect by few people. However, in a professional environment every one has a right to decline meetings if they feel the topic is not relevant.
- It would be a good idea to brainstorm with your team on what measures can be taken to bring down the meeting time for your team.
- Last but not the least - Lets respect each others time irrespective of what roles people are playing in the organization. Everyones time is equally important does not matter if he or she is a university fresher or the head of the organization.
Hope this will at least save 1-2 hours of your meeting time each day and you can use it for some productive work and have a better work life balance.