Bad meetings are a waste of time, and a waste of money.
So why are we still stuck in so many of them?
According to a recent study from Atlassian, 31 hours a month are spent in unproductive meetings. While some offices are hesitant about letting their staff use the color printer, they show little trepidation when it comes to blowing thousands of dollars on unproductive meetings.
Think that hosting a weekly round-up with your team isn’t costing you a dime? Think again.
Calculate the hourly wage of everybody in the room, and then add it together. If the average hourly wage in the room works out to $30 an hour, and twenty attendees show up — you’re spending $600 an hour.
If these meetings resulted in magical results, it would be one thing, but 93% of meeting attendees confessed to spending meetings daydreaming, with a further 39% admitting to having fallen asleep during meetings.
Are you looking to make your meetings more productive? Take some advice from the pros on how to ensure that you only meet when it’s absolutely necessary.
Keep It Short
Jake Knapp from Google Ventures famously uses a physical timer to make sure meetings stick to schedule. Excessively long meetings are a nightmare for everyone. The average adult can only pay attention for twenty minutes, more commonly five minutes, and younger generations are zoning out after a mere eight seconds.
Having a meeting run on over an hour is a recipe for disaster. At the very most, a meeting should last an hour, but the ideal length is twenty minutes.
Monitor The Guest List
A sure sign that this meeting is a dud? Everyone is invited. Some professionals have gone so far as to refuse attending meetings with more than six attendees. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk famously threw people out of meetings who didn’t need to be there.
If you’re setting up a meeting, only invite people who have something to contribute. To make that easier, when you write your agenda, give everybody an action item to discuss. If they have nothing to add, they probably don’t need to be there.
Write An Agenda
Never hold a meeting without a clearly defined agenda. Ask yourself questions like:
- What’s the objective of this meeting?
- What am I hoping to have achieved once it concludes?
- Could this all be summarised in an email?
If you absolutely must hold a meeting, write down your objective and then outline the steps that you need to take in order to reach it.
Oprah Winfrey is another business magnate who dislikes meetings, preferring for her staff to summarize everything via email. Coretta Scott King once wanted to fly to L.A. to meet with Oprah and ask a favor.
“And I go, ‘Mrs. King, you should just tell me whatever it is on the phone and save yourself the flight,” Winfrey recently told Fast Company Magazine. “?Whatever it is, I’m going to be more inclined to do it if you just ask me on the phone. Because if you come all the way here, if I don’t want to do it, I’m still not gonna do it. And then you would have wasted your time, and I’m going to feel bad, and you’re going to feel bad.” Oprah ultimately granted the favor — on the phone.
Does This Really Need A Meeting?
Still not certain if you need a meeting or not? Fundera recently put together this flow chart and infographic to help you figure it out!