Taking the 30 Minutes Challenge: How to Cut Meeting Times
CEOs spend approximately two-thirds their time in meetings lasting more than an hour.
According to Harvard research, time is the most valuable resource for CEOs, yet they (or you) are in meetings for 72 percent of the total time available on a typical day.
How can you cut meeting times down — a lot?
A Harvard study found that, before COVID, a company’s vice president would spend 44 hours a week going to meetings. COVID made this a much more common fact. However, the reasons for that change are not quite clear. In the Harvard study, the IT manager spent 35 hours with the CEO and sent emails to 85 percent of the company. The problem was shared by most of the study’s leaders. how do you bring joy to your scheduled meetings.
People in C-suite are in meetings even more often in the new normal to keep the human connection alive. Most employees don’t like the amount of time they have to account before, during, or after a meeting. The “switching period” refers to the time it takes to return to work after a break. For example, it takes at least 15 minutes after a break to get back to work. It takes at least 30 minutes to focus on a single issue to get moving or make a decision, which is called “time fragmentation.”
If you think about meeting distractions, answering the phone, or reading an email — there are a lot of distractions in a day’s work. It’s possible that employees only do one hour of work per day if they switch between tasks.
How a leader spends his time shows how they manage their time, prioritize and communicate. It is important to assess the quality of meetings and decide who should go. This will ensure that everyone is focused on the task at the hand.
Improving the productivity of the meeting
Manufacturers often have a short daily meetings of no more than 15 minutes at the same time each day — so employees don’t have to move into a separate room for these meetings. They arrive at work early in the morning. They discuss what happened yesterday, the issues, and what is to come.
The focus is kept on the essential tasks and things move forward in short meetings. Talk about any problems in a separate meeting with the people involved. Most offices have discovered the benefits of intraoffice communication tools like Slack and Outlook.
Prepare your meeting schedule in advance. If it’s a regular meeting you should follow the same order of business. How is the project progressing? Is there a problem? Do I need help? Everyone should be prepared for it. These issues should be quickly scanned from a list and not be altered.
Rank who should go to the meeting first
An HBR study found that the more time people spend in extensive group settings, the less likely they will be engaged. People will be more productive and excited if they can spend less time in meetings. Keep the number of people down. Remove everything else and follow the 2-pizza rule set by Jeff Bezos. A meeting should be between six and eight people. A meeting that has too many people is less productive.
A meeting with fewer people won’t waste employees’ time. Invite only people who can help with the project being considered — and encourage each person to give honest feedback.
The secret to Pixar’s Brain Trust meetings is a quick meeting and honest feedback. These meetings help keep the company’s attention on the task at hand and allow for better and more innovative thinking.
A French company with 500 employees called FAVI makes its meetings public. Anyone can see them. If you don’t like the idea of a video-on demand or online tool like Kahoo, you can replace it with an online tool such as Kahoo. Leaders can use public meetings. Anyone can view the meeting vids, ask questions, or collect data. You should encourage employee self-discipline and confidence. Employees will find it easier to choose which class to attend and how active they want to be.
Have your employees ask the same questions as you. What was my week like? Is it necessary to mind meld? What is the goal? Is this your job or is it? You can either attend the meeting or look at the minutes to see if you are able to join in. You may prefer to have one-on-one meetings if you work remotely than attend the large ones. These meetings are more important as they allow employees to feel connected and belong.
Improve your focus
People tend to go offline in essential or long meetings and focus on emails or messages instead of being present in the meeting. This is the worst way to waste your time. It’s impossible to pay attention to emails and meetings all the time. These situations can lead to employees “coming to” and asking for someone to repeat what they said. This phenomenon is similar to the drunk driver or texting driver.
Keep your meeting short and sweet to ensure that you can focus your energy and time on the important things. Then, hurry up and get back to work. Consider using web-based solutions such as ASANA or Mural.co to make the meeting more engaging, disseminate the outcomes, solicit comments, or assign obligations after the scheduled time. Set up a set time of day for meetings, and schedule them all simultaneously to ensure that you don’t waste any time.
It’s a 30-minute challenge.
Agendas and minutes are essential. But, they aren’t used as much today. Do you remember the last boring meeting? You might have noticed that leaders did not have an agenda or added topics to the agenda at the last minute.
There are signs that a meeting is almost worthless and certainly boring. Some people could not speak and others spoke too much. If a difficult topic took longer than expected, this is usually because the speakers weren’t prepared or ready and the information they needed wasn’t close by.
Again — the truth is that meetings shouldn’t take more than 30-minutes. Start prepping your company and employees now to make the 30-minute mandatory by 2023 in your company.
Why are 1-hour meetings the norm? Because Zoom meetings are free for up to 40 minutes, it makes sense that they are. Your productivity will skyrocket if you push your team to do better, come up with new ideas faster, and your team will be better.
The same goals should exist within your C-suite — make it a goal to set a new standard for a conference: 30 minutes at the most. This will allow your teams to choose topics more carefully, select attendees more carefully, and prepare for the next meeting better. You will be able get at least half of what you have spent on time back.
Keep in mind that your most important asset is time, and determine that in 2023 — you will stop giving it away to nonsense.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!
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