Meetings can be the springboard for alignment and success. But too many meetings can also drive progress to a halt.
If you think you have too many meetings, here are 5 reasons you might be right.
Let me throw some numbers at you. So every day in America, we have 11 million meetings. That adds up to 220 million meetings per month, or two and a half billion meetings per year. And with the average salary cost of a meeting clocking in at $338, we're talking about almost a trillion dollars worth of time, energy, and focus being spent on meetings.
So if that sounds like it's you, here are five reasons that you may be spending too much time on meetings, right?
People are being invited to meetings where they don't give or receive value.
A lot of people think sometimes it's like a courtesy to invite somebody to a meeting. Like, "Oh, well this kind of relates to what you're doing for your job in some way."
No, it's not a courtesy to waste somebody's time. And so if that person isn't a stakeholder, if they're not a decision maker, if they don't have a unique point of view to bring to the meeting that somebody else already has, then...you shouldn't invite them.
Not enough autonomy to make decisions.
Sometimes people have meetings because there's a culture in their organization where they're kind of not allowed to make decisions on their own. So they'll bring everybody into a room, they'll present a bunch of information, talk about the rationale behind the decision. Maybe there's some discussion, but basically kind of just making sure that everybody is on board with this decision before they make it.
In some organizations, maybe what you need to do is focus on empowering people and there's a little bit of a culture problem there where you can say, "Look, just make the decision. I trust you. You're the best, most knowledgeable, best informed person to to make this decision."
So if you can focus on bringing that autonomy, that can free up a lot of extra time for people to do their best work.
Decisions aren't being made, leading the future meetings.
If you show up to a room to make a decision, but you don't have all the data that you need to make that decision, or not everybody is there who needs to be involved, and you end up leaving the meeting without having made that decision.
That meeting was kind of a waste of time. Don't have a meeting if you don't have all the pieces yet to make the decision.
And likewise, if you're having trouble making decisions in your organization, maybe some people need to learn to disagree and commit, you know, commit to somebody else's idea, even if they don't wholeheartedly think it's the right path.
Or maybe you just need to announce the room, "Look, we are not leaving this room until we come to a decision. You know, we're not going to have another meeting on this," and really force people to to dig deep down and figure out what they want to do about a specific issue.
There is a lack of prioritization across your organization.
So you see this sometimes. A lot of organizations, you know, you have a lot of...You're ambitious. Lots of things you're trying to accomplish and you know, you're trying to win the market.
I hope you do, but if you have a lot going on and there isn't clear prioritization between things—and so we're going to have a meeting, talk about this, and then spend an hour with that, and then we're going to spend another hour talking about this.
If those two things are different priorities, but they're actually being given equal weight and equal meeting time, that can be an issue.
So just make sure that everyone is really clear about what's our focus? What are we trying to do? And meeting time should kind of reflect those overall priorities.
This meeting should have been something else.
"Meetings should be like salt: a spice sprinkled carefully to enhance a dish, not poured recklessly over every forkful. Too much salt destroys a dish. Too many meetings destroy morale and motivation." — Jason Fried, Basecamp Founder and CEO
So yeah, there's a meme. This meeting should have been an email. Yeah. Maybe it should've been an email, so write it.
Or maybe it should have been a video. You know, you have, you have a laptop, you have a cell phone, you there, there's a free tool you can get online called Loom. Go to loom.com and it records your screen, your face, your voice.
There are so many different ways that you can communicate. So many different platforms that you can use to communicate. There's, there's no reason why everything has to be a meeting. And even if typing an email seems like a bridge too far. Or you could try dictation.
If what you need to do is communicate five, 10 15 minutes worth of information, bringing everyone into a 30 minute meeting to do that is a hassle and it's unnecessary, and when you do turn your meeting into something else, then people can consume it at the right time in their day, when you're not interrupting their flow or their focus or what they're working on, they can consume that.
There you go. Those are five reasons why maybe you're having too many meetings. I hope that thinking about this, you can help trim down some unnecessary ones are shorten some meetings.
I'm Rob with Hugo. We do connected meeting notes software, and I'll catch you next time.
Sorry for bonking you. This is bad. Bonked it again. Get your lines right.
My first day at work was a breeze until my boss Josh told me about our 10% rule.