As it turns out, there is no evidence that there is a strong relationship between any group’s level of productivity and amount of time spent in meetings. You will have a more productive year and raise the productivity of people in your world by cutting back on meetings. This means having fewer and shorter meetings. The way we think about meetings in the Information Age needs to have little in common with how we had to think about them in the Agrarian and Industrial Ages. Here are 5 ways to reinvent your meetings for unprecedented productivity and efficiency.
Cut meetings in half. Seriously, notice how the same or more amount of deliverables can occur in half the time people are usually given. Don’t let the work expand to the time allotted to it. Try it with a few meetings first so people gain confidence in their own surprising collective efficiency.
Have more conference calls. If a group has face time history, it doesn’t need face meetings every time. Shift more face meetings to conference calls which saves wasted commute times and manages carbon footprints. Use shared screens for any needed visuals.
Defer all work to paired assignments. It’s always a poor use of time whenever people sit in meetings watching other people work on things they should be working on outside meetings. When anything comes up that needs work, get people quickly paired to work on it later. Pairs build in natural accountability.
Leverage the collaborative cloud. Once people are oriented to using collaborative files and documents online, all kinds of communication, collaboration and even decision making can occur. Do anything virtually through shared docs that you can to significantly reduce everyone’s need for more meetings.
Frame all agenda items as questions. End the practice of framing agenda items as nouns and objects. Make sure every meeting agenda item is framed as at least one concise question. Questions are infinitely more powerful in moving groups from talk to action. You will see your meeting productivity scale significantly.