Meetings are a vital part of any business, company, or organization. They allow for collaboration between employees and departments, helping them come up with solutions and plans for moving forward.
However, it is not uncommon for meetings to be a waste of time. Sometimes meetings are held which did not have to be a meeting at all, and could have instead been a simple email or text conversation.
In this article, we will go over why reducing meetings is so important for maximum productivity and the productivity tools and techniques, including the benefits of using an employee productivity tracking application, to support a “only when truly necessary” meeting culture.
Plus, we will also provide a 4-point checklist that any business can follow to determine whether a meeting is necessary or not.
Why Not All Meetings Are Bad (Especially For Enterprise Teams)
Although many meetings are non-essential, some meetings are necessary for an organization to succeed.
Meetings are an opportunity for team members to discuss ideas and goals for the business. When these meetings are effective, lots of progress can be made on key functions of a company.
The collaborative aspect of meetings is arguably the most important.
After all, going back and forth with different team members and departments is time-consuming. Bottlenecks and miscommunication can often occur, making it difficult to work together toward a solution.
Also, the bigger the company, the harder it is to collaborate through email, chat and text. Going through gatekeepers and multiple departments is a fast track to delayed deadlines, frustration, and further difficulties.
That’s why the goal isn’t to eliminate meetings completely. Instead, to eliminate unnecessary meetings. Which, as we’ll see, is an art that can be learned.
Make Better Decisions With Meetings
Another reason that meetings are valuable is that they can help your team make better decisions.
They allow all team members the chance to voice their opinions about how to approach various processes within a business. Team members get to feel heard and valued, which is absolutely crucial for businesses, especially enterprises where a single employee is one among thousands.
To keep a team in sync and keep operations running properly, meetings are an essential part of any business.
However, the caveat is the meeting must be effective. If it is not, then it may be a waste of time that could otherwise be spent on more growth-oriented aspects of a business, like increasing productivity results in your team.
Effective meetings should allow for a conversation between employees that brings out each teammate's skill and knowledge, to help solve big problems and achieve collective goals for the business.
Even with the help of employee productivity tracking applications, ensuring meetings are effective can be easier said than done.
So, first, let’s take a look at the cost of too many meetings. Then we’ll explain how to determine whether a meeting is necessary or not, to ensure their effectiveness.
The Cost Of Too Many Meetings
A common issue in modern business is too many meetings within an organization.
We know it’s a real issue not just because the ‘meetings are a waste of time’ trope is all too common. But because the numbers back it up. Studies have found, , in the U.S. alone, the cost of unnecessary meetings in terms of salary is approximately $37 billion!
Workplace executive productivity tools and the best office productivity software programs can be used to keep track of valuable employee time, helping eliminate unnecessary meetings by identifying when too much time is being spent in them.
Managers are also increasingly aware of the cost of too many meetings, with many recognizing that a majority of meetings are highly inefficient.
So it’s clear that too many meetings and meetings that are ineffective cost businesses time, money, and resources. Let’s now look at four questions that should be answered to determine whether a meeting is essential or not.
A 4-Point Checklist of Questions To Ask Before Scheduling A Meeting
Here are four questions that should be answered before a meeting is scheduled so that no time, money, or resources are unnecessarily wasted.
#1 What Are The Goals Of The Meeting?
Determining and defining the ultimate goal of the meeting is very important.
Not only will this drastically cut down the time of a meeting (as all unnecessary discussion will be eliminated), but by defining the goal your team may realize it is not important enough to call a face-to-face meeting.
So, ask yourself… What is the goal of this meeting? Is it to brainstorm? Is it to solve a problem? Is there any goal at all?
You will often find that there is no real defined goal of the meeting, and it is being organized simply to feel productive.
So, before you schedule a meeting, honestly ask yourself what the goal of it is. Similarly, when a meeting invitation pops up from a colleague, ask them to define the goal of it. And, if there isn’t a clear goal, don’t be afraid to push back and suggest email, chat or a call instead.
#2 Do These Ideas Need Back And Forth Questions?
Meetings are great for ideas or problems that require back-and-forth collaboration.
However, meetings are sometimes organized simply to announce news or relay information within a business. In this case, an email or mass announcement is far more effective and time-saving than organizing a face-to-face meeting.
If back-and-forth questions are not necessary, then a meeting is likely not necessary either.
#3 Can The Meeting Be Replaced?
Often meetings do not need to be meetings—they can be text conversations, email threads, phone calls, or take place within project management software.
Technology makes back-and-forth communication very easy and less time-consuming than in-person meetings. So, before agreeing to or organizing a meeting, try to judge whether face-to-face communication is necessary. If it is, use best office productivity software programs to ensure time is not being wasted.
Another benefit of digital meetings is the opportunity to record all communication. Whether it be a Zoom call, email thread, or other meeting formats, everything can be securely recorded and tracked for future needs.
#4 Is The Topic Time-Sensitive?
If a topic is not time-sensitive, a meeting may not be necessary.
After all, if a meeting is about an event that is a year away, there may be no reason anytime soon -- or host a meeting at all!
When projects are time-sensitive and deadlines loom, meetings can help get everything out in the open, and teams can collaborate on what needs to be done for the due date to be met.
So, consider whether the topics or goals of a meeting are time-sensitive before calling for one.
Meetings allow teams the chance to collaborate, solve problems, and work towards the goals of a business.
However, it is important that all meetings that are arranged are essential. Otherwise, time, money, and resources are wasted that could otherwise be put towards growing the business and reaching goals.
Apps for business productivity can help solve the problem of unnecessary meetings. There are also many other advantages of productivity software or employee productivity tracking application, which can be used to ensure all meetings are effective.
So, if you are looking to weed out unnecessary meetings in your team, a great starting point is conducting research to find the best office productivity software for your business.