Do you hate meetings? Sometimes, I do as well. They can be a great way to get everyone in the same room and get things done but I have also sat in plenty of endless meetings that were nothing more than an excuse to fill time.
The question is, how do we get the most out of meetings? Here are my top five tips:
1. Meet in person
Sometimes there is nothing more efficient than meeting face-to-face. If endless email chains or IM chats have failed to result in a resolution, meeting in person is often the only way to actually accomplish the goal. In my opinion, there’s something about being face-to-face seems to make people more cooperative and adept at problem-solving so I’m all about scheduling a meeting when digital communication fails. And even if you’re unable to meet in person due to location, video conferencing can be just as effective. At MOO, we regularly use Slack, Google Hangout and Skype to “meet” with colleagues in other offices.
2. Make it small
All tedious meetings tend to have one thing in common – too many people. Anything above 5 people in a room and the vibe can quickly go from cooperative to chaotic. So unless the meeting involves a company-wide announcement, keeping the invite list short can help make things more effective. Plus being more selective on the attendees will help you identify the right people to have in the room. So it’s a win-win.
never try to fill the time
3. Take notes
This is probably an obvious one but somehow it often gets forgotten. Takings notes during the meeting helps organize ideas; it also means you’ll have a record of important facts and decisions that were made. I personally like to use a really great notebook for this, so I don’t forget to take it with me. My favorite right now is our limited edition MOO x Timothy Goodman Notebook – pretty slick and a great reminder to put these tips into action to avoid falling into the creativity-killing trap.
4. Keep it short
This is probably my top tip – never try to fill the time. If you don’t have enough to discuss simply cut the meeting short. Everyone will be impressed with your efficiency and will thank you for the time they gained back. And you’ll avoid the experience of staring down at a room full of people doodling away to pass the time.
5. Skip it
Yes, I said it. Sometimes you just don’t have to actually have that meeting. My test is if the issue can be solved with one email or phone call, there should be no meeting at all!