3 Top Tips for Avoiding Pointless Work Meetings
Often, work meetings can feel like an unnecessary barrier to productivity. Indeed, many conclude with a feeling of regret and the knowledge that the same results could have been achieved in a short email exchange. This isn’t always true, though. In some cases, face-to-face discussion is the most productive option. Simply, it all depends on the circumstances. For instance, it can be tricky to condense complex thoughts, ideas, and feedback into a couple of written paragraphs. Perhaps there are multiple departments involved in a conversation or it requires group feedback and brainstorming. In these cases, a meeting will be much more appropriate than an email exchange.
When you do meet, be sure to maximize your time. To ensure that your meeting is timely, you set the right tone, maintain a good tempo and make your point, read on.
1. Timing is critical.
As home time draws closer, decision fatigue sets in. Bear this in mind, and plan those technical meetings, stats reports and logistics chats for the late morning (after a coffee break of course!). At this time, people will be much more engaging and focused. Avoid the post-lunch window of circadian low around 3 pm. Instead, use this afternoon period for relaxed meetings and brainstorming sessions. Surprisingly, perhaps, an Albion College report claims that tiredness breeds creativity.
2. Maintain momentum (while making your point).
For those familiar with meetings, their etiquette should be second nature. There are, however, some rough guidelines for getting the most out of your get-togethers. Rather than interrupting someone or disturbing the meeting, pause for a second when they finish talking. By doing so, you will ensure that they have, indeed, said all that they wanted to say. At that point, you may step in with your thoughts. If you’re struggling to find a window of opportunity to speak, ‘bookmark’ your input by raising your hand slightly. This will indicate that you’re next to talk.
3. Encourage inclusivity and collaboration.
Meetings can be tense. According to Van Edwards, by replacing words like ‘you’ and ‘I’ with inclusive ones such as ‘we’, meetings can develop a better sense of unity. The atmosphere of a meeting is also shaped by its setting: two Canadian business schools claim that round conference tables encourage cooperation, while square alternatives can generate competition.