Fed up with meetings - try something new for better results

Meetings are the biggest time wasters in business

Imagine you were told to waste 31 hours in the coming month,  you might immediately start worrying about  the backlog of work that would pile up and not be get done.

This is the time it is estimated we waste in meetings on an average month.

While I might dispute the average of 62 meetings per month used to calculate this figure, I wouldn’t argue that most of us spend a lot of time in meetings.

In my last role I would on average have one 1 hour meeting per day = 20 hours per month. That is a lot of time in meetings by anyone’s reckoning.

Now it may be harsh to characterise all meetings as time wasters but even if we say 30% are then we are still talking a large amount of your precious time being wasted in a year, I’ll leave you to do your own sums and see what this means for you.

My meeting average = a big fat F+ when compared to other CEOs

My average compares poorly with the projection undertaken by the findings of the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School which looked at the time devoted to meetings by C-Suite executives that was reported in the Wall Street Journal – where the average was 18 hours per week or 72 hours per month.


Make meetings work for you and your team

First it might be worth reviewing if you really need to meet and if not DO NOT.

Otherwise if you really must meeting consider ‘shaking up’ the meeting format. Here are some options to consider.

  1. Can you share updates by email or reports – do you really need to hear it in person from someone who is probably ill prepared and busy themselves.
  2. Consider ‘stand-up meetings’ for 10 minutes each day with your team – great way to keep abreast of all team members activities and  schedule a time if necessary for 1:1 support.
  3. Walk and talk meetings – use time in your day when you need to ‘get somewhere’ or simply feel the need to get up and away from your desk. This option provides some useful ‘health’ benefits also.
  4. Consider using technology – such as instant messaging, wikis , closed online community (Google+, Facebook, Sharepoint) or collaboration apps such as Wrike and Basecamp  to name just a few – (10 free go to meeting alternatives).
  5. Replace meetings with ‘brainstorm’ or innovation sessions with a specific purpose.

If you really must meet – make it memorable

This ideographic uses Marlow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ to identify the key elements that you should be building into your meeting to satisfy your staff’s full range of needs.

Maslow's Hierachy of needs - works for meetings #infographic #meetings #smallbiz