Meetings – sometimes amazing, sometimes painful, yet an inevitable component to any workplace. Not only are they are a primary method for employees to interface and discuss ongoing projects, but they can also encourage team building.
Despite their inevitability, meetings can also quickly become unproductive/useless/cumbersome (insert similar adjective here) – delaying projects and frustrating employees.
There is no fast and steady rule to meetings, however, the following five time-wasters are all too common:
Scheduling unnecessary meetings. While it’s important to discuss projects face-to-face, some employees may have a tendency to schedule unnecessary meetings. Employees should be encouraged to consider whether or not they need a meeting to accomplish their goals, or if a simple email will suffice.
Inviting too many people. It can be tempting for an employee to invite more team members to a meeting than is necessary. When this happens, it can be difficult for those in attendance to fully understand their role in a project. Employees should have a good rationale for each person they invite to a meeting. (Check out the two-pizza rule below)
Taking poor notes. Someone should always take notes during a meeting. Without adequate notes, key action items can get lost in the shuffle and another unnecessary meeting may be required as a follow-up.
Underpreparing. Meeting owners should come prepared with an agenda. This agenda should account for every topic that needs to be discussed during the time allotted. Without an agenda, it can be difficult for meetings to have a proper structure.
Scheduling long meetings. Meetings that last over an hour often have diminishing returns. Meeting owners should book meetings in small intervals to avoid overwhelming attendees.
TWO PIZZA RULE
Did you know: Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, believes that large project teams cause more harm than good in terms of productivity. Instead, Bezos believes that smaller work groups are more beneficial, as there are fewer lines of communication and projects are more easily streamlined.
Based on this thinking, Bezos recommends that businesses, both large and small, adopt the “two-pizza rule” in order to establish fruitful teams. The rule is as follows: if you can’t feed your team with two large pizzas in a meeting, there are too many people involved in your project.