5 ways to get your meetings in check

Too many companies report feeling “stuck in meeting hell.” We’re here to help. Revolutionize the way that meetings impact your time and your accomplishments with these five recommendations, inspired by our research.
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1. Avoid “FYI” Invites to Meetings

We’ve found that meetings with high acceptance rates (or very few declines) are less likely to be reported as wasted efforts. Invite only the collaborators that truly need to be in the meeting and designate a note-taker for those who can’t attend.

2. Collaborate Outside the Conference Room

Bigger meetings tend to be purely informational (and easier to substitute with an email), while smaller ones help people actually get their work done. If you need additional input, try quick check-ins with relevant partners before or after the meeting, and take notes.

3. Keep It Among Peers

Meetings with multiple layers of management—like having individual contributors, managers, and VPs in the same room—can have lower reported effectiveness. Encourage your team meetings to be with peers or one additional layer of management.

4. Set Precise Times

Tradition dictates 30- and 60-minute meetings, but inevitably, 5 or 10 minutes are lost to late arrivals or multitasking. Create a culture of brevity by scheduling 25, 45, or 55 minutes.

5. Schedule Your Meetings Close Together 

Yes, you read that right. It’s best to group your meetings in the morning or afternoon so that you can give yourself a longer period for focused work time — vs. short sprints between scattered meetings. But make sure to keep meetings as short as possible (do you really need an hour?) and give everyone a 5-15 minute break between meetings. 

Work expands so as to fill the time available. If you schedule a 60-minute meeting, people will fill that time, regardless of efficiency.

Parkinson’s Law

For additional tips on meeting effectiveness, we recommend The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven Rogelberg.

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