Replacing meetings to gain more time on your calendar to be productive

Replacing meetings

ssssscrape, knock-knock-knock

I got a Slack message from Peter! Wow! I think I’m changing him 😉

Peter: “Hey Wendy, I noticed that you have been rethinking how we do things around here instead of just finding time on our calendars. Are you on a mission to eliminate meetings?”

Me (Wendy): “Hey Peter, nice to see you’re using Slack more and email less 😉  Yes, I’m on a mission to eliminate as many meetings as possible. My calendar is filled with meetings all day. I can only work “after hours”.”

Peter: “Yes, I’m getting used to not emailing as much. Wow! I didn’t realize your calendar is that impacted. Is it the same with others?”

Me: “Yes. It’s very exhausting to be on back to back calls all day. We need to change peoples’ minds and habits of scheduling a meeting for any discussions or conversations.”

Peter: “I agree. I’ve resorted to blocking my calendar so I have time to work on things.”

Me: “I think we need to consider the purpose and what we are trying to achieve. Then we figure out how to best achieve that purpose, instead of blindly scheduling a meeting. For example, when you had that piece of news to share, we used to call a meeting to tell people. Instead we used Slack. We also used to gather information by inviting everyone to a meeting. I think we did quite well on Slack this time, getting votes and new fun activity ideas for the upcoming company offsite.”

Peter: “Yeah, I’m quite surprised how well our Slack voting worked out. We got through it without a meeting at all. Does this mean we have to scrutinize every meeting and then decide whether we need a meeting or not?”

Me: “Yes. We should always ask ourselves what the purpose is for any meeting and what we want to achieve from it. Knowing that meetings can be categorized into 4 types also makes it easier to decide what needs a meeting.”

Peter: “4 types?”

Me: “Yes. We get together because we either have information to share, have decisions to make, need to collaborate to work out a problem, or brainstorm on something. We have already proven that we can gather and share information without a meeting. So, next time you want to call a meeting, figure out if you’re trying to share information, or if you want to gather information. If so, no need to call a meeting. And even for decision making, just like the company offsite fun activities, we can get input from folks asynchronously, and determine later whether we need a meeting to make a decision. In our case, as you said, a decision was made without a meeting!”

Peter: “Hmm… that sure makes it easier. But what about the other types that you mentioned?”

Me: “Good question Peter, but I need to run. Let’s discuss that another time.”

Peter: “Ok. I still want to hear about the other 2 types next time!”

Replacing meetings with more productive time requires a change in mindset. Make sure you tune in to our story next time.

Read Wendy’s entire story here


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