Did you know most office workers spend at least 45% of their week in meetings? Have you ever had a moment at work when you’ve thought, “Does this really call for a meeting?”
If you haven’t, you should start. Because if you’ve ever been in a meeting that didn’t go anywhere, you know how much of a waste of time it can be.
Not only can they be a huge time and productivity suck, they’re also expensive! Add up the hourly wage of everyone attending, and multiply that by the amount of hours you spend together, and you’ll get a quick idea of just how much money your company is losing.
Want fewer meetings at work? Learn how to say no. Not all decisions require a meeting in order to drive next steps, and too many meetings have way too many people to be effective.
Think twice before scheduling a meeting
There are few things that will kill a team’s velocity quicker than meeting overload. So before scheduling your next meeting, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Does this decision require input from more than one other person?
- Does the group need to talk about this together, at the same time?
- Do you have to wait until you can find a mutual time for everyone to discuss later?
Unless you answered yes to all the above questions, you perhaps don’t need to schedule a meeting to achieve your goals. Here are some replacements to consider:
- Quick phone call
- Brief in-person conversation
- Shared document
Should you need a meeting, take advice from Jeff Bezos
When it comes to getting more out of business meetings, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has it down. Jeff Bezos knows how to run a meeting. Here’s how he does It. He follows three simple rules.
“Two pizza” teams.
To avoid these time-wasting gatherings and ensure that his schedule is only filled with meetings that are worth his time, Bezos has a “two pizza rule” that helps him to banish unnecessary gatherings from his schedule.
“We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas,” said Bezos. “We call that the two-pizza team rule.” – Jeff Bezos
If you’ve ever been in a meeting with too many people, you can understand the wisdom in this.
actually banned in favor of memos.
“Somebody for the meeting has prepared a six-page…narratively structured memo. It has real sentences, and topic sentences, and verbs, and nouns–it’s not just bullet points.” “The great memos are written and rewritten, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two.” – Jeff Bezos
None of that means anything if the meeting participants don’t prepare, which is what makes the third rule the best one of all.
Begin Meetings with Silence
Bezos starts each meeting by giving team members a half hour to actually read the prepared memos prior to discussing them.
“We read those memos, silently, during the meeting,” “It’s like a study hall. Everybody sits around the table, and we read silently, for usually about half an hour, however long it takes us to read the document. And then we discuss it.”
“Just like high school kids, executives will bluff their way through the meeting, as if they’ve read the memo,” “Because we’re busy. And so, you’ve got to actually carve out the time for the memo to get read–and that’s what the first half hour of the meeting is for. And then everyone has actually read the memo, they’re not just pretending to have read the memo.” -Jeff Bezos
You can imagine why this is so beneficial. How many times have you made it to an important meeting where, despite your best intentions, you’re simply not as prepared as you’d like to be?
Implementing Bezos’ three simple rules could not only help increase productivity but also make meetings less dreadful and boring. And, let’s face it, nobody truly enjoys PowerPoint anyway.