It’s not an uncommon thought in most business circles that internal meetings can suck the life blood (and productivity) out of any company (big or small). The negativity around meetings is for the most part misguided. Meetings are an absolutely necessary vehicle for getting things done, but there is little to no focus in most orgs on giving our people the knowledge and skills to execute them with success. The solution, a swift and purposeful death by fire of the One Hour Long Meeting.
Have a look at your calendar right now, I’d be willing to bet the majority of your internal meetings are set for an hour. Now think back on all of your meetings over the past few week. These hour-long meetings almost always end up either A) Not taking even close to the full hour B) Going WAY over the hour time frame. Both scenarios can be crippling to productivity.
Here is how you can KILL the hour-long meeting slot
- If you are the one scheduling the meeting, ask yourself before sending. Is this meeting about process/execution or strategy? The answer will ultimately define how much time you allot/request of your peers/colleagues.
A) Process/execution meetings: 30 minutes or less
B) Strategy Meetings: 2 Hours or more
- Every meeting maker should have a clear and defined agenda, and expectations for deliverables (and who owns them) outlined in the notes on the meeting. It is here where most hour-long meetings becomes 30 minutes. Its can also be a good barometer for “can this meeting be an email”….. If these can’t be filled in you likely don’t need to have the meeting in the first place
- The expectation should be across your organization that everyone be ON-TIME and prepared. This isn’t always achievable and everyone has things “pop up”, but if as a company this expectation is clearly defined and communicated to your teams, there is an opportunity to win back hours of productivity. (Confession: I am guilty here and its #1 on my list of “do this better in 2H 2020).
- Decline Hour Long Meeting Invites: Your responsibility to your company is to operate at maximum efficiency, and sometimes that means having direct and difficult conversations. Use the same logic we spoke on in point #1 when you are evaluating the meetings you accept. Don’t ever hesitate to decline and reply back with “I think we can get this topic covered in 30 minutes” or “This is a heavy topic, we should plan two+ hours”. Meeting requests are just that, requests.
It won’t be easy, you are battling years and years and years of “we’ve always done it this way, but over time it possible to reach the promised land. There is a world where you don’t start the day trying to finish the actual work that needs to get done, while you are navigating an ocean of hour-long meetings. A world where meetings are something you look forward to, not dread.
Go forth and be awesome…..
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