Do You Really Need to Have a Meeting? | Bolin Marketing
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May 9, 2016

Do You Really Need to Have a Meeting?

by Kara Brower, Manager of Project Management

Do you ever find yourself wondering if you really need that meeting? Are you tired of having each day booked with meetings galore and no “work time”? Do you ever hear colleagues say the following statements?

  • “I don’t know how we should proceed. I’ll schedule a meeting.”
  • “I don’t know how to respond to this email or proposal. I’ll schedule a meeting.”
  • “I haven’t received a reply from my two emails. I’ll schedule a meeting.”

In a world full of the belief that “there is not enough time in each day,” we need to be selective with how we make the most of our days. Your time is precious—my time is precious—and so is your colleague’s. So here are some thoughts to ensure that you really need to schedule that meeting.

Ask yourself why you need the meeting. If you can’t outline the reasons in your head, don’t schedule it. You need to make sure you have a clear purpose before you even type the first letter of your participants’ names.

  • Think of the 24-hour rule: don’t expect people to be available less than a day from your request. This goes for your clients as well.
  • Check each participant’s calendar. Check with people who have time conflicts. Don’t double book people.
  • End meetings early or may I suggest a 25-minute or 50-minute meeting? In a full day, that extra 5-10 minutes will provide a bit of a much needed break for all attendees.
  • Outline your objectives/goals for the meeting. Always include them in the invite. People have the right to decline your meeting if you don’t tell them why they need to be there.
  • Invite necessary people; mark others as optional so they can decide if it makes sense to attend or have awareness to follow up with you at a later time.
  • We all deserve our mornings, lunches, and evenings. If you really need to make time to meet during any of these times, check with all participants first.
  • Don’t be the person I described at the beginning of this post. People don’t like meetings and might be busy even if their calendars are clear—think “work time” people!
  • Book meetings through a standard calendar for all attendees.
  • Consider time zones into your meeting invite.
  • Will you need a conference bridge? Or video conferencing? Be sure to include that in your meeting invite.
  • Cancel unnecessary meetings but be sure to tell them why you cancelled it. Then listen for the deep sigh or cheers when they see they have more time in their day!
  • Keep it short. If you can’t accomplish what you need in the time you booked, end it and schedule a follow-up. Remember your meeting etiquette. People also plan their work time. (Do you sense a theme?)

Remember

Your time is a rare commodity – So attack each meeting this way. If you’re invited to a meeting that you feel will be useless, doesn’t specify an agenda, is taking place over lunch, has too many attendees without specific tasks remember you have the right to decline the meeting request. Just do it. Your time is just as important.

Unplug – Make this a mandatory rule for all meeting attendees. If you don’t, you risk the “squirrel” interruptions, which force unnecessary distractions for all contributors. Unless you’re the assigned “note taker” of the meeting, or leading a test review, there should be a “screens down” rule. Your clients and project budget will thank you for it.

Contribute equal time – Make sure there is not just one leader of the meeting. Unless it is specific to one source of communication, all meeting attendees should have an equal turn at asking questions, leading a portion of the meeting, or providing their status and work in need of review. The meeting leader will be in charge of keeping everyone on task.

Note taking is not just for PMs – If the Project Manager is leading the meeting, they are not in charge of the note taking. Prior to the meeting commencing, a note taker should be assigned. Any person in the meeting should be able to capture key discussion points, decisions made, and next steps. They can also help keep their eye on the time.

If you do have your meeting, keep them focused, short, and on track.

 

 

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