Meetings are Wasting Time – Here’s How to Fix Them
December 8, 2020
Are your Meetings Really Productive?
Many workers dislike meetings. They tend to accomplish less than they set out to do, conversations get caught up around minutiae instead of focusing on the primary purpose and many participants become bored as they have no say.
Around 30 billion dollars are wasted every year in time due to meetings, in large part because companies haven’t had well-structured rules related to those meetings. Additionally, according to RingCentral, “across the world, executives spend around 23 hours per week in meetings —eight of which are unproductive,” and “90% of meeting attendants are not focused in meetings.”
However, meetings are still an essential part of workplace function for most companies, so what if we said there was a way you could meet less often and accomplish more than you were previously?
Get More with Less
The technology to improve meeting efficiency has been around for decades, but meetings have largely not become more efficient. The time has come to utilize that technology and improve meeting efficiency, cut out superfluous meeting hours and get more done in the same amount of time.
There are 3 key areas to tackle to save time and increase meeting efficiency.
- During the Meeting
Meetings should generally be planned in advance, with a meeting agenda, speakers and topics, giving everyone time to prepare to speak, listen or act.
Additionally, it’s very important to set rules for scheduling meetings so people know who should schedule meetings, when and under what circumstances. Too often people throw meetings together because they need an answer to something when they could use another mode of communication to find out the same thing without wasting others’ time.
Set the precedent before the meeting starts that there are expectations of how it should go so everyone is on the same page and assign people to certain roles such as Note Taker and Time Keeper so they can keep track of important action items and keep speakers on topic. Consider using a document collaboration tool to detail out the agenda ahead of time, which can double as the agenda and meeting minutes document during the meeting itself.
During the Meeting
According to RingCentral (a unified communication company that specializes in communication and meeting applications and tools) there are only 5 meetings that should take place: i) Decision Meeting, ii) Discussion Meeting, iii) Information-Sharing Meetings, iv) In the moment Meeting, and v) Check-in Meeting.
These meeting types contain different types and numbers of participants, have more or less rigid structure and serve different purposes. The key similarity between all of these meeting types is that they have rules around them so attendees know what to expect from the meeting and how that meeting will take place (in-person, virtually via a meeting tool like RingCentral Meetings, or over the phone).
The structure is the key to keeping people on task so they can meet less often but get more from the meeting when they do occur. This can be further optimized through in-meeting etiquette and rules to follow and get even more out of your meeting time. To learn about specific best practices for meetings and webinars, please click here to read our article covering that in more detail.
We recommend taking advantage of a tool such as RingCentral Meetings, which allows the “Host” to control the functions of the meeting such as being able to send out polls, text chat with others, mute those that aren’t speaking and create breakout rooms when small group discussions are needed.
It’s important to have someone designated to follow-up after the meeting to make sure everyone knows about any action items that are required, as well as future meetings if required, leading back to the “Pre-Meeting” phase.
For some of your meetings that are more impromptu or lack a larger, defined structure, utilizing the RingCentral suite can often eliminate a lot of your company’s unnecessary meeting time.
- RingCentral Meetings can be started up very quickly and, when needed, a regular phone call can be converted to a video meeting with the touch of a button.
- Screen sharing and the annotations tool within the RingCentral Meetings app can help remove the frustration of trying to explain what you are looking at.
- Quick communication can be accomplished over instant messaging, often removing the need to hold a meeting at all.
Meetings have the potential to waste a lot of time. By creating a structure around when and how meetings should be created, who is doing what during the meetings and providing a strong follow-up to those meetings, you can cut out a lot of that wasted time. Virtual meeting applications like RingCentral Meetings, and other collaboration tools can also assist in saving time during meetings or eliminating the need to meet at all.
Positive Results™ is a partner of RingCentral and can help you optimize your meetings so they become more efficient while simultaneously giving you back time to spend on more important factors. We can provide different approaches to keep participants entertained during long meetings, especially client meetings where their attention is key. We also offer guidance around the recommended features to use for RingCentral video conferencing
We assist clients with the rollout of communication through messaging by using ‘teams’ to keep departments in constant communication, eliminating the need for recurring meetings throughout the week to touch base.
If you have additional questions or need support, contact us at:
Positive Results™ Custom Business Solutions