Wait a second, should you really hold that meeting? A simple meeting tool could help you determine, once and for all, whether your meetings are truly productive or a big waste of everyone’s time.
Recently, Harvard Business Review shared a five-step flowchart, created by time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders, to help you decide if you should hold your next meeting. Here’s what the process looks like:
- First, ask yourself if you thought through everything. If you don’t have a solid plan, schedule some time to think through your ideas before proceeding to meet.
- If you have a well-formulated idea, then consider whether you really need outside input to progress it. If you don’t, then schedule time to do the work yourself.
- Next, do you have to have a real-time conversation to collaborate? If not, send an email.
- If you do, does it have to be an in-person meeting? If not, you could also use chat, pick up the phone or schedule a video conference.
- If you answered yes to everything, your last step is to schedule and prepare for your meeting.
Here’s what we love about it and where we’d expand on this handy meeting tool.
Why We Love the Meeting Flowchart
- You’ll stop holding unnecessary meetings. At PGi, we absolutely love the collaborative value of meetings, but we’re the first to admit that not all meetings are equal in terms of productivity. This flowchart is an easy way to vet which ideas require everyone else’s time.
- You quit having mindless meetings. This flowchart reminds us to think before we meet, eliminating mindless meetings where the host doesn’t have clear goals and outcomes set.
- You save time meeting with other tools. Conference rooms aren’t the only way to meet, and they’re not always the best way to meet. For example, conference calls and video conferencing still get your team together to collaborate but without the travel time.
- You don’t always have to collaborate in real time. Just because you don’t meet, doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate. This flowchart points out other valuable tools for getting outside input on your ideas, like emails and chat.
Here’s What We’d Add to It
- First, is this a standing, one-on-one meeting? If so, you may want to reconsider canceling because it destroys your personal productivity, Saunders has also said in the Harvard Business Review. Without the dedicated time of regular one-on-one meetings, your teammates will try to resolve issues, ask questions and offer suggestions during the rest of your day, increasing distractions and killing your flow.
- Do I need outside input to make progress, and if so, what kind? Too often, too many people sit in meetings that don’t need to be there. Once you’ve decided you need outside input, carefully consider whether your group’s too big to be productive.
- Send an email or update your team workspace. Email’s great for sending quick updates to your team, but if you’re collaborating with multiple groups on tons of projects, leverage the power of a team workspace. This type of collaboration software is an even better “note-taker” for your team than your inbox, providing a central, searchable place to find updates, comments, revisions and documents.
- Schedule and prepare for the meeting by setting an agenda. Now that you’ve thought it through and considered what outside input you need, put that into a meeting agenda so everyone else knows exactly what’s expected of them in the meeting.
Of course, once you’ve figured out the who, what, when, where and why to get everyone together, you need to figure out how they work best together. PGi’s latest, free eBook helps you with that part.
Download Teamwork Makes the Dream Work now to discover better ways to work together when you meet together.